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Government Task Force Recommends Abandoning PSA Tests

05/24/12

  09:39:55 am, by MedBen5   , 234 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Government Task Force Recommends Abandoning PSA Tests

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recently dropped some non-too-subtle hints that the screening guidelines for prostate cancer screening should be changed. Earlier this week, the government advisory panel finally announced that the PSA should be abandoned as a testing tool.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the task force said that only one will be saved for every 1,000 men screened over a 10-year period. But 100 to 120 men will have suspicious results when there is no cancer, resulting in biopsies that can carry complications such as pain, fever, bleeding, infection and hospitalization.

The task force also notes that if cancer is detected, 90% of men will receive surgery or radiation treatments even though the tumors are rarely life-threatening. And such side effects as impotence, urinary incontinence and even heart attacks may occur from the treatment.

The panel did acknowledge that “some men will continue to request screening and some physicians will continue to offer it.” They recommended that doctors and patients carefully discuss the benefits and risks.

Doctors are divided on the recommendations, the Times reports."PSA testing is really a boon to men, and they’re throwing it out because they underestimate the benefits and overstate the harms,” said Dr. William J. Catalona, a urologist. But professor of medicine Dr. H. Gilbert Welch disagreed: “There’s probably some benefit, but it’s so small and the harms are so much more common. And they matter.”

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