(SAN ANTONIO, TX) — The US Preventive Services Task Force issued new guidance on Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for the early detection of prostate cancer, which may help thousands of men each year.
The updated guidance contradicts previous recommendations against screening, and reflects new conclusions on PSA testing. In a report on May 8, 2018, the Task Force discussed the life-saving impacts of screening for early detection of PSA.
Dr. Ian Thompson, Jr, President of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Medical Center, and a urologic oncologist who is an authority on prostate cancer screening and treatment, responded to this news.
“Since the advent of PSA testing in the early 1990’s, the United States has seen more than a 50% fall in deaths from prostate cancer. The evidence is clear that PSA testing is, in part, the cause for this very important trend.”
Dr. Thompson continued, “This revision of the Task Force guidance is extremely important. It now stresses that men should ask their physicians about PSA testing and that physicians should offer it to their patients. Decision-making tools are available to understand a man’s risk, including one that we developed: myprostatecancerrisk.com.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer for men in the United States. Most at risk are men with a father or brother with the cancer, in addition to African American men who are more susceptible to developing PSA.
“It is especially important for men to learn about their risk and then to make an informed decision,” said Dr. Thompson. “Early detection of prostate cancer can save lives, but only if that conversation between the physician and patient occurs.”
The Preventive Services Task Force did recommend against PSA testing in men 70 and older. “I would respectfully disagree with the Task Force telling a 69 year old man in average health that he may have a PSA test, but a 70 year old marathon runner whose father lived to 98 that he cannot be screened with PSA. This recommendation oversimplifies complex data and the decision should be left to the physician and patient during their conversation.”