Prostate Cancer Over-Diagnosed: Study

prostrate cancer

A new study showed that mass screening for prostrate cancer including a test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has led to mass over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

A report reveals that since 1986 when the PSA screening test came into use, the number of prostate cancer cases in the United States has risen considerably.

Surgery and radiation therapy are the two treatments followed for prostate cancer and the side effects could be incontinence and impotency.

The fatalities resulting from prostate cancer have reduced substantially but it cant be attributed completely to mass screening because the treatment has become much better.

The guidelines for the PSA (a protein produced by the prostate gland) test differ widely. The American Cancer Society says that this test must be done at the age of 50 whereas The American Urological Association recommends a first PSA test at the age of 40.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Medical School's Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice said "Given the unknowns, it's entirely appropriate for a man to decide on having a PSA test without advice from a physician".

Dr. Judd Moul, director of the Duke University Prostate Center, after reading the new study, said, "We now do have the potential for over-detection, but we still have 30,000 men a year dying from prostate cancer, and the best way to prevent deaths from prostate cancer is still screening,"

It was agreed by both the doctors that at this point it is more important to prevent deaths rather than worrying about over-detection.