Draft guidelines: Healthy men should not take PSA test
Should any man of any age — absent symptoms — ever be screened for prostate cancer using the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test?
No, according to draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Public comment on the draft guidelines is open until Dec. 13, 2011.
Screening has caused more harm than good
University of Minnesota professor Tim Church, who has conducted clinical trials to measure the success of PSA screenings, said that research has shown that these tests have resulted in more harm than good.
“Not only is there cost involved, inconvenience, and the pain that might be involved with diagnostic workups, but some men — considerable numbers of men — end up impotent or incontinent and with chronic pain and with blood in their urine, due to the effects of the false-positive screening tests,” he said.
What about men with higher risk?
Some men do have a higher risk and Church says that men concerned about prostate cancer should consult with their doctor.
“Obviously, some groups need to be more concerned than others. It’s been well demonstrated that black men, for example, have much higher rates — not only of prostate cancer incidence but also of prostate cancer death,” Church said. “In addition, men who have a history of prostate cancer in their family, may also be of higher risk of prostate cancer.”