Medical Panel to Men: Skip Prostate Screening

Government group says PSA test doesn't save lives
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2011 5:55 PM CDT
The US Preventative Services Task Force thinks that prostate screenings do not save lives.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A potentially big change in men's health care: A governmental health panel is about to recommend that men stop getting screened for prostate cancer, reports CNN. The Preventative Services Task Force has concluded that the commonly used PSA blood test often does more harm than good because it leads to invasive treatments with nasty side effects, adds the New York Times. The report is to be formally unveiled on Tuesday, followed by a period of public comment.

Researchers based their recommendation on five clinical trials. They concluded that the PSA screening, sometimes accompanied by a digital rectal exam, results in "small or no reduction" in deaths. The test does indeed detect antibodies, but the cancer usually spreads so slowly that it's better to let it go rather than subject men to treatments whose side effects include impotence and incontinence, according to the report.

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