Medical group to say men don't need prostate cancer screenings, source says By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent
(CNN) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the group that told women in their 40s that they don't need mammograms, will soon recommend that men not get screened for prostate cancer, according to a source privy to the task force deliberations.
The task force is set to recommend a "D" rating for prostate specific antigen, or PSA, testing. Such a rating means "there is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits," according to the group's website. The task force is set to propose this recommendation Tuesday, and then allow for a comment period before issuing a final recommendation.
According to a draft copy of a report scheduled to be released Monday, a review of studies shows screening with the PSA blood test results in "small or no reduction" in prostate cancer deaths.
The report adds that PSA testing is "associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments."
The PSA test, which is sometimes accompanied by a digital rectal exam, can help determine if a man has prostate cancer. The problem is that many of the cancers that get detected are so small and slow-growing, they'll never be harmful, and doctors have a difficult time discerning the quick, harmful cancers from the slow, harmless ones.
If you test 100 men over age 50, 17 of them will have prostate cancer, and only three of those will have a fast-growing cancer and die of the disease, according to Dr. Kenneth Lin, senior author of the paper due to be released Monday.
If the 14 men with the slow-growing cancers are treated, they could be rendered impotent or incontinent from the treatment; or worse, the treatment could kill them. About one in 500 men who has a radical prostatectomy will die because of complications of the surgery, according to Lin.
Some prostate cancer patients were disappointed with the task force's decision.
A spokesman for the Prostate Cancer Foundation called the proposed recommendation "a tremendous mistake."
"You're talking to someone whose life was saved by [the PSA test]," Dan Zenka said.
But Lin says he believes testing does more harm than good.
"Maybe you should get tested if you have this horrible family history where everyone gets prostate cancer before the age of 50. But for most men, testing is harmful," he said.
Until last year, Lin worked with the Preventive Services Task Force as a medical officer for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He says the task force voted in 2009 to give PSA screening a "D" rating, but it didn't announce it because of the uproar over the mammogram recommendation.
"I was so frustrated with the political interference, and this was the final straw," said Lin, who left the group in November and is now an assistant professor of family medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.
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Regarding mammongrams I don't listin to the UPTS , I lisitin to the american cancer society, a scientific body. Three months after UPTS cried that no women 40 -50 should get breast cancer ( not because it would save lives but reduce false positives) many studies came out that showed mammograms in the forties do reduce mortality ( which is why the ACS still recommend yearly or every other year mammos in women in their forties.) I diagnose early breast cancer in women in their forties all the time.
As for PSAs, it doesn't save lives 83% of the time because 83% of the time it is a slow growing cancer but in the 17% it is aggressive and if caught in time will save lives. Honestly, PSAs after 75 is probably worthless and they combined this group with the younger PSAs ( late 40's to mid 60') where it makes much more of a difference. This skews the data to say PSAs are worthless. ( because they included a group of men , the older ones, where it did not affect mortality). I have a 49yr old black OUt backs restaurant owner with early aggressive prostate cancer and it looks like it will be a complete cure since we checked his PSA starting a year before recommended ( african americans have prostate cancers that are earlier and more aggressive).
Official Race Member of the Crank Crushing Rednecks
My TRT doc has my PSA tested every time I go in for bloodwork
Only another vial of blood.
If you really want to get your doctor @ a "digital" exam. When he is "up" there ask him to insert another finger. When he asks why? tell him, "while your up there you might as well get a second opinion"
Never had the balls to tell a Doc that but I thought it was funny
Jagbender's battle of the bulge The problems we face today are because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by the people who vote for a living