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Prostate Cancer Screening No Benefit to Older Men With Low PSA Levels
Date:9/13/2010

s beneficial or not, the study would have to cover 20 to 25 years, he said.

"People need to realize that prostate cancer has a long natural history and you can't look at studies after 10 years and make definitive comments about the utility of a screening test," D'Amico said.

Another expert, Dr. Otis W. Brawley, the chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said that many prostate cancers will not spread out of the prostate and do not need to be treated.

The American Cancer Society still recommends that men at high-risk for prostate cancer and those 50 and over talk with their doctors about the risks and benefits of screening. However, the ACS stresses that in some cases -- such as men over 50 who are not expected to live for another 10 years -- such tests should not be offered because they will likely cause more harm than good, with treatments that can cause "unpleasant side effects," like incontinence and impotence, which greatly affect the quality of men's lives.

"The problem is we don't have really good tools to figure out if Mr. Smith needs to be treated or Mr. Smith needs to be watched," Brawley said. "I don't think PSA is a very good marker. We need to find a better marker."

More information

For more information on prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Pim van Leeuwen, M.D., Department of Urology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Anthony D'Amico, M.D., Ph.D, chief, radiation oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Otis W. Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer, American Cancer Society; March 3, 2010, "Revised Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines," American Cancer Society; Sept. 13, 2010, Cancer, online.


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