Experts update prostate cancer screening recommendations

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The United States Preventive Services Task Force has updated its prostate cancer screening guidelines, recommending that the test should be an individual decision for men between age 55 and 69, and advising men older than 70 not to undergo the test.

On Tuesday, the USPSTF updated its 2012 recommendation, which discouraged prostate-specific antigen screening for men of all ages, regardless of family history or race. The guideline released at the time was based on evidence suggesting that the testing could be more harmful than beneficial.

The panel has now revised its recommendation in light of evidence of “moderate certainty” of a “small potential benefit of reducing the chance of death from prostate cancer in some men.”

The USPSTF said in the new guidelines, “For men aged 55 to 69 years, the decision to undergo periodic PSA-based screening for prostate cancer should be an individual one and should include discussion of the potential benefits and harms of screening with their clinician.”

According to UPI, “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men with about 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer and is the second-leading cause of death — 29,430 each year — behind lung cancer, according to the American Caner Society. And about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during a lifetime.”

The USPSTF also recommended against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in men 70 years and older.

“Adequate evidence shows that the harms of screening in men older than 70 years are at least moderate and greater than in younger men because of increased risk of false-positive results, diagnostic harms from biopsies and harms from treatment,” USPSTF said.

The new recommendations align with those of other groups, including the American Cancer Society, the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

The American Urological Association released a statement commending the new guidelines for men 55 to 59, but opposing the change regarding men over 70.

“While we agree that a number of older men are not candidates for prostate cancer testing, we believe that select older, healthier men may garner a benefit. We urge those men to talk with their doctors about whether prostate cancer testing is right for them,” said AUA President Dr. J. Brantley Thrasher.

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