CBS News Review on PSA cancer screening for men
On CBS News the subject was brought up very briefly about PSA cancer screening for men. According to a government panel this testing is flawed and creates more problems than cures, and, sometimes even death. I decided to find out more about this subject by researching it on the Internet!
- Brief summary of News broadcast on PSA testing
- Questions this brought to my mind
- Results of my Internet research for answers
- Advice from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
- Recommendations well received by the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer.
Brief summary of News broadcast on PSA testing
Doctors routinely test for prostate cancer using what is called the PSA blood test. According to studies, this type of test not only detects that bad type of cancer where aggressive action needs to take place; it also detects the less threatening type of cancer where no action needs to take place.
Due to the fact that the treatment can be worse than the disease, the medical experts are wondering whether we should stop PSA testing
Questions this brought to my mind
I had a few questions about this very brief broadcast. As is the case with most subjects that are brought up on the news not enough is explained or expounded upon. Therefore I am usually left with questions.
1. My first question is that I never heard of any type of cancer not being life threatening? I like many always thought that cancer needed to be taken care of as soon as it is detected.
2. Can Doctors tell which type of cancer a patient has once the PSA test detects an abnormality?
3. If this non threatening type of cancer is left without treatment, will it get worse or become life threatening later on?
4. Is it advantageous to stop the PSA testing and if so what type of testing will be done to replace it.
Results of my Internet research for answers
When you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, your first instinct may be to get the cancer out as quickly as possible. However, before making any decisions, you’ll want to learn about your treatment options and study the pros and cons of each one. Many treatments for prostate cancer often cause long-term side effects, including urinary complications and impotence. Proton therapy reduces the risk of other side effects.
In this day and age we must be more vigilant about our own healthcare treatment.
According to The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force PSA cancer screening does more harm than good.
There is little if any evidence that PSA testing saves lives. As a result of treatment for prostate cancer many men suffer impotence, incontinence, heart attacks, occasionally even death from treatment of tiny tumors that never would have killed them.
Advice from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
1. Healthy men shouldn't get routine prostate cancer screenings, says updated advice from a government panel that found the PSA blood tests do more harm than good.
2. Despite strenuous protests from urologists, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is sticking by a contentious proposal it made last fall. A final guideline states there's little if any evidence that PSA testing saves lives — while too many men suffer impotence, incontinence, heart attacks, occasionally even death from treatment of tiny tumors that never would have killed them.
3. The guideline isn't a mandate. The task force stresses that men who want a PSA test still can get one, but only after the doctor explains the uncertainties. That's in part because the panel found PSA testing hasn't been studied adequately in black men and those with prostate cancer in the family, who are at highest risk of the disease.
4. For decades we have been told to be terrified of cancer and that the only hope for a cure is early detection and treatment. According to Dr. Virginia Moyer of the Baylor College of Medicine, the head of the task force! "You don't need to detect all cancers."
Dr. Virginia Moyer further states! “We want to screen for the ones that are going to be aggressive, manage those early — and leave everyone else alone."
To evaluate whether routine screening saves lives, the task force analyzed previous research, focusing in particular on two huge studies in the U.S. and Europe.
Recommendations well received by the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer.
The tasks force recommendation was well received by Dr. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer. He hoped it would help deter mass screenings, where men are given free PSAs at shopping malls and sports arenas without being told of the controversy. Dr. Brawley calls these screenings big business when health centers profit from the follow-up care.
Dr. Brawley says! "The question is! Are we actually curing anybody who needs to be cured right now?" Too much PSA, or prostate-specific antigen in the blood only sometimes signals prostate cancer is brewing. It also can mean a benign enlarged prostate or an infection. Only a biopsy can tell for sure. Most men will get prostate cancer if they live long enough. Some 240,000 U.S. men a year are diagnosed with it, most with slow-growing tumors that carry a very low risk of morphing into the kind that can kill.