Prostate cancer screening: the decision is up to you

Experts have new advice on prostate cancer screening. Here's why they put it back on the table

In 2012, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) stopped recommending PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing to screen for prostate cancer because the group thought it was more harmful than beneficial. Its new guidance, echoing other groups' advice and affirming its draft recommendations issued a year ago, was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The PSA test is a simple blood test that attempts to identify men at risk of prostate cancer, but false-positive results can lead to over-diagnosis and unwanted side effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Men aged 55 to 69 years should be informed of the possible benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening and then make their own decision on whether or not to be screened, according to the latest recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Her goal is to contribute to a valuable, trustworthy, and informative experience for people who are searching for health information online. Screening offers a small potential benefit of reducing the chance of death from prostate cancer in some men.

Expert oncologists are available to discuss the new guideline and how it could impact prostate cancer patients, including the likelihood of patients being diagnosed at earlier, more treatable stages of disease and the potential to reduce treatment delays. Many men with prostate cancer never experience symptoms and, without screening, would never know they have the disease.

Based on this information, the USPSTF recommends that men between the ages of 55 and 69 be provided this information and that their doctors not screen men who don't express a preference for screening. Like the USPSTF, the AUA acknowledges there is limited evidence surrounding the benefits and risks of prostate cancer testing in men over 70, and we too support the call for increased research to fill the evidence gaps and better inform recommendations for these individuals.

Men over 70 are advised against screening because the harms of testing outweigh the benefits.

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