Prostate Test: Lifesaver Or Big Mistake? : NPR

From NPR is this article questioning the benefit of the PSA test for prostate cancer.

“A large European study published a year ago found that for every man whose life is saved by PSA monitoring and early treatment, “there are 48 others who may not have died but had the treatment,” says Dr. Craig Redfern of Portland, Ore. “A number of those are impotent, and some of them are incontinent.”

It cannot do what it’s been purported to do. It can’t detect prostate cancer, and it’s resulted in a public-health disaster.

– Dr. Richard Ablin

Redfern knows one such patient. “He was about 66, had a 1- to 2-millimeter area of cancer on his pathology. I think he had one core biopsy, which was positive,” Redfern said. The pathologist assessed his cancer’s aggressiveness as borderline.

“He probably did not need the surgery,” he continues. “He’s suffering quite a bit from urinary incontinence. He needs to wear a pad. So he’s one who has done poorly.”

If Redfern had been the man’s doctor at the start, he would have counseled him to hold off doing surgery and monitor the situation closely — an approach that some call “active surveillance.”

The American Urological Association is pushing “active surveillance” rather than immediately treating every prostate cancer that is found.”

via Prostate Test: Lifesaver Or Big Mistake? : NPR.

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