Experts Change Their Minds About Prostate Cancer Screening

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Experts Change Their Minds About Prostate Cancer Screening

Experts no longer recommend routine prostate cancer screening.

An influential health task force convened by the government now says that the benefits of getting screened for prostate cancer may slightly outweigh the risks. For that reason, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is advising men to discuss with their doctors whether screening makes sense for them, rather than skipping the test as they’d previously recommended for most men.

The new recommendation is a reversal from the one they issued in 2012, when the USPSTF advised most men not to get screened for prostate cancer using an inexpensive blood test, called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. Based on the evidence they had available at that time, they concluded that the risks of screening—which include false positive results, overtreatment of slow-growing cancers and side effects from those treatments—outweighed the small benefits. But with more data on the subject, the task force now leans toward the benefits of screening.

It’s particularly challenging to know whether a man should be screened and even treated for prostate cancer. When it appears in middle-aged men, it frequently develops so slowly that it’s rarely the cause of death, so treating it with invasive and toxic therapies like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation often exposes men to more side effects and harms without protecting them from dying from that cancer.

“We had evidence in 2012 that suggested to us the benefits of screening did not outweigh the harms,” says Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of the USPSTF and professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco. “That’s why we recommended against screening. With this update we have new evidence and our assessment of the balance shifted to now say there is likely a small net benefit to screening.”

Read full article: Experts Change Their Minds About Prostate Cancer Screening |

Read Full Article: Experts Change Their Minds About Prostate Cancer Screening |

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