Cancer Society Stops Urging Doctors to Offer PSA Test

The American Cancer Society has finally joined just about every other organization that makes screening recommendations. It now warns about the limitations of the PSA test for prostate cancer. This subject has been covered repeatedly here so I won’t repeat myself. The problem is that PSA testing yields many false positives and identifies “cancers” that will never cause harm. The treatment of these tumors carries a very high rate of serious side effects – incontinence, impotence, and radiation induced bowel injury. PSA testing seems to have an unfavorable risk-benefit ratio; ie it hurts more patients than it helps.  This applies to the general male population; there may be special groups that could benefit from the procedure. There are still doctors enamored with the test. The best advice is to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of PSA testing before undergoing it.

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