Screening for prostate cancer using prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing continues to be problematic. Even though it is unproven whether population-wide screening with PSA can reduce death, illness or disability from prostate cancer, testing has become common in North America.
A recent nation-wide survey indicates almost half of Canadian men over 50 years old are tested during their lifetime. In this review, Drs. Ian Thompson and Donna Ankerst examine the evidence in support of the blood test and then discuss how physicians should advise patients about the merits and drawbacks of the test.
In a related commentary, Dr. Michael Jewett and colleagues examine the evidence from two large studies indicating that the drug finasteride is beneficial in reducing both the size of enlarged prostate glands and the risk of prostate cancer.