US Preventive Services Task Force updates prostate cancer screening recommendations

Posted By News On August 4, 2008 - 9:30pm

PHILADELPHIA, August 5, 2008 – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), updating its 2002 report, now recommends against routine prostate cancer screening for men over the age of 75. More evidence is needed to determine if men under 75 could benefit from screening.

Previously, the Task Force concluded that there was insufficient scientific evidence to recommend screening for all men, and found inconclusive evidence that early detection improves health outcomes. The updated recommendations appear in the August 5, 2008 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, the American College of Physicians' flagship journal, and are available online at www.annals.org.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, affecting one in six men. Measurement of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood can detect prostate cancer before symptoms develop. Some abnormal PSA levels may require prostate biopsy to see if cancer is actually present.

While the PSA tests are effective for detecting disease, the Task Force found that there is insufficient evidence that they improve long-term health outcomes.

"We carefully reviewed the available evidence to measure the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer and could not find adequate proof that early detection leads to fewer men dying of the disease," said Task Force Chair Ned Calonge, M.D., M.P.H., who is also Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver. "At this point, we recommend that men concerned about prostate cancer talk with their health care providers to make a decision based on their individual risk factors and personal preference."

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