Inadequate proof to justify routine prostate screen

by Medindia Content Team on  December 23, 2002 at 12:47 PM General Health News
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Inadequate proof to justify routine prostate screen
According to a recent survey there is not enough proof or evidence that the benefits of prostate cancer screening make it worthwhile offering to all men. While the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test can detect cancer early, there is controversy over how useful the test really is. The US Preventive Services Task Force has looked into all the research that's been done on PSA and finds that there is insufficient evidence that it improves health outcomes. Hence it cannot be recommended as a routine screen at the present time.

If a man wants a PSA test, his physician should discuss the benefits and risks. Early diagnosis of a curable cancer is an obvious benefit, but there is the risk of a false positive result, which could lead to unnecessary investigations. Surgery for prostate cancer can lead to all manner of side effects such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction. Many prostate cancers grow so slowly that the man dies of something else - which renders the surgery unnecessary. Ongoing research is looking at whether the PSA test in conjunction with digital rectal exam can reduce deaths from prostate cancer.


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