Thousands of Men with Prostate Cancer Get Risky Treatment They Don’t Need. New Approaches Could Curb That

Excerpt:

“They look like glowing jade necklaces of such unearthly brilliance they could be a Ming emperor’s. But if Dr. Gerardo Fernandez is right, the green fluorescent images of prostate cells could be even more valuable, at least to the thousands of men every year who unnecessarily undergo aggressive treatment for prostate cancer.

“That’s because the glimmering images promise to show which prostate cancers are destined to remain harmless for the rest of a man’s life, and thus might spare many patients treatment that can cause impotence and incontinence.”

Go to full article.

If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our ASK Cancer Commons service.


Flawed Study of Advanced Prostate Cancer Spreads False Alarm

Excerpt:

“Bad news for men popped up in news media all over the country this week, based on a study from Northwestern University reporting that cases of advanced, aggressive prostate cancer had risen sharply from 2004 to 2013.

“Newsweek, NBC, CBS, Fox News and United Press International were among the organizations that covered the study. The reports suggested that recent medical advice against routine screening might be to blame for the apparent increase in advanced cases, by leading to delays in diagnosis until the cancer reached a late stage. Another factor cited was the possibility that prostate cancer had somehow become more aggressive.

“But the frightening news appears to be a false alarm — the product of a study questioned by other researchers but promoted with an incendiary news release and initially reported by some news media with little or no analysis from outside experts.”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Metastatic Prostate Cancer Cases Surge, Adding to Screening Controversy

Excerpt:

“A new study documents a decade-long increase in the number of men who have incurable prostate cancer at their initial diagnosis, an ominous finding that prostate cancer-screening proponents have been predicting.

“Both screening and diagnosis of early-stage prostate cancer have declined, coinciding with recommendations from an influential government advisory panel. In 2008, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said not to do routine PSA blood testing of men over age 74. And in 2012, it said to not screen any men – not even those at high risk – because the harms of unnecessary treatment outweigh the benefits of catching cancer early.”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Most Internet Sources on Prostate Cancer Disagree with Expert Panel's Recommendation

“Only 17 percent of top-ranked consumer health websites advise against screening for prostate cancer, a recommendation made more than two years ago by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), according to a study presented at the 2014 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.

“In an Internet search for the phrase ‘prostate cancer screening’ on three main U.S. search engines, study researchers found that most sites appearing on the first results page recommended a patient-individualized approach to screening.

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men besides skin cancer, affecting one in seven American men over their lifetime according to the American Cancer Society.1 Screening, which is routine testing in the absence of symptoms, can detect prostate cancer early. Screening tests for this cancer are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, a digital rectal exam, or both.

” ‘The recommendation not to screen men for prostate cancer is controversial,’ said lead author Philip Zhao, MD, a urologist at The Arthur Smith Institute for Urology at North Shore–Long Island Jewish Health System, New Hyde Park, N.Y. He performed the research while a resident physician at Rutgers–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, N.J, under the guidance of Robert E. Weiss, MD, professor of urology.

” ‘Our study results suggest that two-thirds of the online community disagree with the USPSTF recommendation against prostate cancer screening,’ Dr. Zhao said.”


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.”


New Approach to Prostate Cancer Screening Needed in UK, Experts Say

“The UK needs to invest in testing for those men most at risk of prostate cancer rather than follow a cast-the-net-wide approach targeting the whole population, a leading scientist argues. Men in the UK are currently entitled to PSA blood test for prostate cancer once they reach the age of 50 and will be recommended to have a prostate biopsy if their PSA level is greater than their age-specific threshold. This practice leaves around 50,000 men in the UK having an unnecessary prostate biopsy every year which is painful, can cause bleeding and infection and rarely even death.”


Article Offers Guidance on Discussing PSA with Patients

“Discussion of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening should focus on current guidelines and emphasize shared decision making, according to an article published Feb. 11 in the Urology Times.

“Noting that there has been an increase in discourse relating to the controversy surrounding PSA testing in the lay press, John M. Hollingsworth, M.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, outlined his patient discussions concerning PSA screening.”