Value of Prostate Screening in Doubt: Studies

Routine checks don't lower risk of cancer death, research shows
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2009 1:35 PM CDT
Prostate cancer checkups might be totally unnecessary   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Routine screenings may do little or nothing to prevent deaths from prostate cancer, two new studies show. In US research on 76,000 men, the widely used PSA blood test didn't lower the risk of death. And a European trial that covered 162,000 subjects found only a modest reduction. The findings are fueling the ongoing debate over the best way to treat the slow-growing but lethal disease, the Washington Post reports.

“It’s a legitimate question about whether we should be screening,” said one American Cancer Society doctor. "We've been doing faith-based screening instead of evidence-based screening.” But others still support the screenings, saying the studies could be flawed. “I don't think that screening should be summarily dismissed based on these trials,” one urology professor said. “I think they say we should be more smart when we screen.”