Routine Prostate Screening Not Recommended

Save your money and time and skip the prostate screening.

Routine Prostate Screening Still Not Needed

By Shirley S. Wang

scalewsj health blog

The American Cancer Society put out updated guidelines for prostate cancer screening today and they look, well, a lot like the current ones.

After reviewing the recent scientific literature, there’s still no evidence that routine screening for men of any age makes sense, according to the committee that issued the guidelines.

They continue to recommend that men of average risk receive information and weigh the “uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits” of screening starting at age 50. Higher-risk individuals — African-Americans or those with one relative diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65 — should be presented with the information at age 45. Men with a strong family history should start thinking about screening at age 40.

The group also emphasizes the importance of joint decision-making between the patient and his doctor about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. Men don’t always get the information they need to make such decisions about prostate screening, according to the cancer society and findings from other studies.

“Men without access to regular care should not be tested unless high-quality informed decision-making as well as appropriate counseling and follow-up care for those who test positive can be assured,” Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society said in a statement. “Without those, community-based screening should not be initiated.”

Prostate cancer screening has long been debated. That’s because screening for slow-growing diseases, like prostate cancer tends to be, may lead to unnecessary treatment.

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