New Prostate Cancer Screening Guideline Recommends Not Using PSA Test

“A new Canadian guideline recommends that the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test should not be used to screen for prostate cancer based on evidence that shows an increased risk of harm and uncertain benefits. The guideline is published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

” ‘Some people believe men should be screened for prostate cancer with the PSA test but the evidence indicates otherwise,’ states Dr. Neil Bell, member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and chair of the prostate cancer guideline working group. ‘These recommendations balance the possible benefits of PSA screening with the potential harms of false positives, overdiagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.’

“For men with prostate cancer diagnosed through PSA screening, between 11.3% and 19.8% will receive a false-positive diagnosis, and 40% to 56% will be affected by overdiagnosis leading to invasive treatment. Treatment such as surgery can cause postoperative complications, such as infection (in 11% to 21% of men), urinary incontinence (in up to 17.8%), erectile dysfunction (23.4%) and other complications.”