Panel: Don't Screen Older Men for Prostate Cancer

Treatment may be more harmful than helpful after the age of 74
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2008 2:28 AM CDT
Laparoscopic radical prostatecomy is one treatment for prostate cancer. But a task force has now recommended that men over 74 not be screened because treatments may do more harm than good.   (KRT Photos)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Physicians should stop screening men 75 and older for prostate cancer, according to new guidelines issued by national health task force. Prostate cancer is "overdiagnosed" in up to 44% of cases—that is, the cancer is present but so slow growing that it would probably never produce symptoms in the patient's lifetime.But the treatment itself may be debilitating, causing impotence or incontinence,  the New York Times reports.

“You have a chance screening will help you live longer or better, and you have the chance that screening, detection and treatment will harm you,” said the chairman of the US Preventive Services Task Force. “At age 75, the chances are great that you’ll have negative impacts.”