The American Cancer Society (ACS) yesterday released a new set of guidelines for early detection of prostate cancer, stating that in many cases the risks involved in testing and treating potential cancer may outweigh the benefits. In other words, not every man over age 40 should be screened for prostate cancer.
Using even stronger language, Otis W. Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, questioned the logic of broad-based screening in an opinion piece on CNN.com.
“How did we get into this quandary? The answer is, we became unscientific. We began promoting and using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test before it had been adequately evaluated,” he wrote. “ This is a common practice in American medicine and a major reason for its expense.”
Within hours, the American Urological Association (AUA) responded, taking issue with the ACS recommendation, proposing that “all men, with a life expectancy of 10 years or more, should have a baseline PSA test at the age of 40.”
What is a man of a certain age supposed to do?
The short answer, everyone agrees, is talk to your doctor.
Guidelines in a nutshell
– Men should not undergo testing without talking to their doctors first.
– Men without symptoms who can expect to live at least 10 more years should have a frank discussion with their doctors about screening. These talks should start at age 50.
– Men at higher risk, including African American men and those with a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65, should have the talk beginning at age 45.
– Men with multiple family members diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65 should talk about screening beginning at age 40.
– Men without prostate cancer symptoms—who are expected to live less than 10 years based on age and health status—should not have prostate cancer screening.
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courtesy of AARP