“The effect of guidelines recommending that elderly men should not be routinely screened for prostate cancer ‘has been minimal at best,’ according to a new study led by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.
“The study, published as a research letter online in JAMA Internal Medicine, focused on the use of PSA — prostate-specific antigen — to test for prostate cancer. ‘We found that the effect of the guidelines recommending against the routine screening of elderly men in particular has been minimal at best,’ says Jesse Sammon, D.O., a researcher at Henry Ford’s Vattikuti Urology Institute and lead author of the study.
“The researchers found an estimated 17 million men age 50 or older without a history of prostate cancer or prostate problems who reported undergoing PSA screening. Though credited with a significant improvement in 5-year cancer survival rates during the first decade after the FDA approved PSA testing of men without symptoms, its use for routine screening is controversial.
” ‘The concern is that the test often provides false-positives, leading subjects who do not have a prostate malignancy to undergo treatment they don’t need and suffer such side effects as impotence and urinary incontinence,’ says Dr. Sammon.
“Nearly three years ago, the debate led the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force to recommend against routine PSA screening in any age group.
” ‘But in the time since, nationwide patterns of PSA screening were largely unknown,’ says Dr. Sammon. ‘We sought to examine those patterns to determine the effects of the most recent USPSTF recommendation.’ “