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What to know about new advice on prostate cancer test

What to know about new advice on prostate cancer test

That applies to men aged 55 to 69 of average risk for prostate cancer as well as those with higher odds, including blacks and men with a family history of the disease. Because the test is imperfect, Brawley said, there are a number of missed cancers and false alarms.

A health panel with the U.S. government has decided that routine prostate cancer screenings can be done as long as the patient decides whether they want to or not after discussing it with their doctor.

Should middle-aged men get routine blood tests for prostate cancer?

"The balance of benefits and harms is still close", Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an internist at the University of California at San Francisco and task force chair, told The Washington Post.

New evidence also suggests it's becoming more common for doctors to skip aggressive treatments like surgery or radiation for men with low-risk prostate tumors in favor of doing periodic tests to see if tumors grow, an approach known as active surveillance. It proposes shifting from the task force's recommendation against routine prostate cancer screening to a recommendation for informed and shared decision-making in which the physician and patient discuss the real risks of harm and the potential for lifesaving benefit before deciding on screening.

The draft recommendation will be open for public comments until May 8. The PCEC is dedicated to saving lives through awareness and the education of men, the women in their lives, as well as the medical community about prostate cancer prevalence, the importance of new marker utilization, and available treatment options, as well as other men's health issues.

The task force's 2012 advice against screening said there was little evidence that PSA screening was reducing deaths. The Task Force has developed answers to frequently asked questions, a fact sheet, and infographic to help clarify the draft recommendations. The panel concluded, in its new guidance, that the potential benefits of screening slightly outweighed the harm. The latest data show that over 180,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016, but there were only 26,000 deaths from it. Prostate cancer accounted for 4.4 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States a year ago.

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"Therefore", Bibbins-Domingo says, "what we are recommending is that doctors and patients talk together about whether screening is right for them".

Five years ago, the panel's recommendation had been not to offer PSA screening. "The right decision isn't screening all men, it's making all men aware of the benefits and harms, and then allowing each man to make the best decision for himself", Bibbins-Domingo explained.

"Some men who are very concerned about prostate cancer will elect to be screened, and others who are less concerned will elect not to be screened; either decision should be supported", he wrote. Treatment often involves radiation or surgery, which can cause incontinence and impotence. PSA levels become elevated in cases of cancer-but also benign prostate problems.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is a national independent volunteer panel of medical experts created in 1984.

Certain demographic groups, namely men with a family history of prostate cancer, and African-American men, are at a higher risk of having and dying of the disease.

The task force's initial recommendation generated political heat, and in 2015 Reps. If you treated everyone who was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is what used to be done, most men would not benefit. For many men with prostate cancer, their disease will progress so slowly that they would not die from it if it were left untreated. Even if they were to get regular PSA screening, they wouldn't necessarily be exposed to as many harms from treatment.

AUA responds to USPSTF draft recommendations on screening for prostate cancer [news release].

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