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New Guidelines Rule Out Prostate Screening for Men Over 75
Date:8/4/2008

ommendations that some people be screened by the age of 35," she said.

But not everyone agrees with that assessment. Dr. Otis W. Brawley is a prostate cancer epidemiologist and chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. He called the new guidelines, "right on target."

"The American Cancer Society since 1997 has been against mass screening," Brawley said. "But within the physician-patient relationship, a test should be offered to the patient, with the patient informed of the potential risks and potential benefits, so he can make an informed decision."

The society does not recommend against prostate cancer screening for men over 75, "but we are in the process of re-evaluating our recommendations for men of all ages," Brawley said.

In related news, the largest-ever study of its kind is shedding doubt on the prognostic value of the Gleason score, a collection of factors doctors use to gauge whether or not a patient's biopsy points to aggressive prostate cancer. The score, which ranges from 2 (least aggressive cancer) to 10 (most aggressive), is often used to decide whether men get active treatment or merely "watchful waiting."

Using biopsy and prostatectomy samples from almost 3,000 patients cared for from 1982 to 2007, researchers at the Lahey Clinic of Tufts University in Burlington, Mass., reportED that the biopsy grading system had an overall accuracy rate of only 63 percent. In fact, based on samples taken from excised prostates, 30 percent of men were found to have a higher (more aggressive) grade of cancer than their Gleason score had suggested, while 7 percent had a lower grade than the score had indicated.

The findings were published in the August issue of European Urology.

More information

Prostate cancer screening is explained by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.


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