In May of this year, the US Preventive Services Task Force, a governmental advisory panel, came out with a recommendation against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer, the second most common cancer of men. The Task Force concluded that PSA-based screenings cause more harm to the patient than good. As expected, the recommendation has been engulfed in controversy. Most physicians, including my colleagues in the subspecialties of urology and radiation oncology, disagree with its findings.
With the incidence of death from prostate cancer still high, and because of its ability to negatively affect a man’s quality of life, we cannot stand behind such a broad recommendation – to stop PSA screening altogether for healthy men. More than 240,000 men were diagnosed in the United States last year with prostate cancer; about 30,000 of them died from the disease. Screenings are an important preventive health measure, and when we catch prostate cancer early, the cure rates are higher and more treatment options are available. An alternate for PSA-based screening for healthy men would be the digital rectal exam alone, but by the time something is detected on such an exam, the cancer is much more advanced.
Read Dr. Sinha’s full article, including the work he does at El Camino Hospital on the IndiaWest website.