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Prostate Cancer Screening Rate Declines In US. Has It Led To More Deaths?

Update Date: Nov 18, 2015 09:05 AM EST

Warning about missed opportunities to detect prostate malignancies early, a new study claims that the rate of screening and incidence of the disease has declined as a likely consequence of new screening guidelines established in 2008.

According to The New York Times, the study's authors wrote that rates of early prostate cancer diagnosis dropped from 416.2 cases per 100,000 men in 2012 to 540.8 cases in 2012. The study also pointed out that PSA screening rates in previous 12 months dipped from 37.8 percent to 30.8 percent in 2013.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in 2008 had recommended that men with average prostate cancer risk not be put through routine Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening test as many prostate malignant lesions grow slowly, not requiring treatment. The task force's recommendations were aimed at preventing unwarranted exposure to treatment which often left men with incontinence.

Researchers said that in relative terms, the screening rates declined by 18 percent between 2010 and 2013 while the biggest decline in incidence of the disease was between 2011 and 2012.

"Both the incidence of early-stage prostate cancer and rates of PSA screening have declined and coincide with 2012 USPSTF recommendation to omit PSA screening from routine primary care for men," researchers wrote without attributing the declines to changes in death rates.

The findings of the study were published in The Journal of American Medical Association.

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