Should Prostate Cancer Screenings Stop?

By Robert G. Pugach, MD

A panel of health care experts, who evaluate the latest’s scientific research, say a test used to screen for prostate cancer should be stopped immediately.

Specifically, the recommendation from the Unites States Preventative Services task Force (USPSTF), states that men over 50, who take the PSA test, get more harm than benefit because of the risks associated with the follow-up treatments and evaluations.  

A Doctor’s Opinion on the New Recommendations

As a practicing urologist for more than 30 years, I am now joining thousands of my colleagues to strenuously object to this recommendation. I believe the death rate from prostate cancer has steadily declined over the past 10 years due to the PSA. Now, doctors are concerned, the recommendation by the USPSTF will reverse that trend.

Prostate cancer strikes one in six men throughout the course of a lifetime. It is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men.  Annually, there are about 192,000 diagnosed cases nationwide. This highly effective test to screen for prostate cancer helps these people.

What Other Doctor’s are Saying About the New Recommendations

I recently attended a medical conference at Harvard University. The focus was on advances in prostate cancer treatment. In responding to this recent report, Dr. Phillip Kantoff, one of the course directors, said “this is the wrong message at this point in time.”

His message echoes what thousands of urologists, like me, do every day of our lives. We try to diagnose prostate cancer at an early stage. We do this so we can offer the best treatments for this potentially lethal disease. 

Should Prostate Cancer Screening Tests End?

It costs $30 to test for prostate cancer. I strongly advise all of my patients and men to follow the American Urological Association guidelines for prostate cancer screening. These guidelines suggest that urologists should start looking for evidence of prostate cancer at an earlier age.

In fact, some men should be tested as early as age 40. This is especially important for men who have a history of prostate cancer on their father’s side of the family.  Their risk of developing it, is at least twice that of the general population.

I have devoted a large part of my medical career to diagnose prostate cancer at the earliest possible stage. To talk to me more about how I can help you, contact me  Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center