Prostate cancer has become a growing problem in he United States. Numerous experts are saying this is because many men are not getting the proper screening. Is your physician telling you the importance of getting prostate cancer screening?
CBS news reports on prostate cancer screening.
Researchers are saying that fewer men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer and fewer men are being screened for the disease. Two new studies concerning the issue were published on Tuesday.
“At issue is the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test. For years in the United States, men age 50 and older routinely underwent PSA screening to help detect early prostate cancer,” according to CBS news.
But some doctors question whether this routine screening is a good idea.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force actually does not recommend this routine screening. The panel found that the testing might do more harm than good, because this type of cancer is slow growing, meaning it may never advance to a fatal level.
Some physicians fear that there are men who are diagnosed with extremely early forms of the cancer and then unnecessarily get subject to radiation and surgery. this can have bad side effects such as impotence.
The two new studies were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The studies say that the new recommendations have had an impact on the public.
What were the results of the studies?
In the first study, the American Cancer Society (ACS) experts found that in 2013, 31 percent of U.S. men age 50 and older said they'd had a PSA test in the past year. CBS explains,
“That was down from 38 percent in 2010, and about 41 percent in 2008 -- the year the USPSTF began advising against routine PSA testing for men ages 75 and up.”
The diagnosis of prostate cancer also went down across the nation.
The second study was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. They only looked at screening rates and found a similar pattern.
“The largest decline in PSA screening was among men ages 60 to 64: In 2010, 45 percent underwent screening, versus 35 percent in 2013. Men ages 50 to 54 also saw a big decline, with just 18 percent getting a PSA test in 2013 compared to 23 percent in 2010,” according to CBS.
Many physicians are questioning whether prostate cancer screening saves lives. But some argue that regardless of what each doctor believes, each patient should get counseled on prostate screening or at least be given the option.
Dr. Richard Greenberg, chief of urologic oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia, commented on the studies. He said, “This study raises a troubling suggestion that we may be missing patients we want to find with screening. Specifically, younger men who are currently not getting screened may have cancer 10 years from now that is no longer curable.”