No Prostate Cancer Screening: Biopsy, Surgery Drops; Prostate Cancer Deaths Reduced? [VIDEO]
In 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a no routine prostate cancer screening for men at risk of prostate cancer. The result is a drop in prostate biopsies and surgeries but these results do not necessarily mean that the number of deaths will also drop.
The USPSTF have placed the guidelines believing that treatment for the early signs of prostate cancer is often excessive. The screening only adds confusion and raises alarm, leading to procedures that are expensive but unnecessary.
Minute slow-growing tumors are no cause for alarm since these are often harmless. Prostate cancer treatments may bring more worries with its side effects including incontinence and impotence.
However, medical practitioners are saying that the USPSTF may have gone overboard with their recommendations. Doctors are raising an alarm that men with potentially fatal cancers might not get immediate treatment, possibly resulting in increased death.
Prostate cancer ranks second in cancer deaths in the United States. There are estimated 240,000 American men who have prostate cancer and 27,000 of them die each year, NBC News reported. Hence, most men undergo a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test once they reach middle-age.
With the new guidelines in place, men who may want to have the PSA test will have to convince their doctor they need one and pay for the cost. Insurance companies will no longer shoulder the cost of the test or any other procedures. This is why the number of biopsies dropped by 28.7 percent and radical surgeries by 16.2 percent according to the report by News-Medical.
For this reason, the American Urological Association does not support the new guidelines even if the American Cancer Society does. Dr. Edward Schaeffer, urologist of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, indicates that aggressive prostate cancers are emerging and potentially bringing with it an increased number of death. Given the sluggish nature of cancer, the effect of the "no screening" guidelines on prostate cancer deaths may not be seen for another ten years.