American Cancer Society recommends PSA at age 50 for most men

In one of the stupidest moves in recent memory, the American Cancer Society now says that most men should not begin having PSA testing DISCUSSED until age 50 with some higher risk groups at 40.  Is this a coincidental occurrence with the recent passage of the Health Care Bill?   Was it coincidental that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force raised the recommended mammography breast cancer screening to age 50 in November of 2009?  Instead of screening and treating cancers early, the United States is going the opposite way since the beginning of 2009.  Knowledge is power, testing is simple and gives you the power instead of giving it to some faceless person elsewhere.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states

“Potential harms from PSA screening include additional medical visits, adverse effects of prostate biopsies, anxiety, and overdiagnosis (the identification of prostate cancer that would never have caused symptoms in the patient’s lifetime, leading to unnecessary treatment and associated adverse effects). Much uncertainty surrounds which cases of prostate cancer require treatment and whether earlier detection leads to improvements in duration or quality of life. Two recent systematic reviews of the comparative effectiveness and harms of therapies for localized prostate cancer concluded that no single therapy is superior to all others in all situations.”

Anxiety?  Of course it is obvious to be anxious if the PSA is elevated, but isn’t it better to know about it and have time to treat it instead of finding out when it is too late?

The recommendations should be:  Begin PSA testing at 40, or 30 to 35 for some higher risk groups. But it an individual decision not a “top-down” government forced test.

See:

http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/FindCancerEarly/CancerScreeningGuidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer

and

http://nccu.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_3X_Can_prostate_cancer_be_found_early_36.asp

and

http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsbrca.htm (“The USPSTF recommends biennial screening mammography for women aged 50 to 74 years.”)


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