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U.S. Advisers Say 'No' to Routine PSA Tests for Prostate Cancer
Date:5/22/2012

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- In a highly anticipated move sure to unleash heated debate, a prominent U.S. government advisory panel is recommending that men of all ages no longer be screened for prostate cancer by undergoing the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of medical experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, said PSA screening results in overdiagnosis of prostate cancer and unnecessary treatment that can leave men impotent and incontinent.

This final recommendation comes seven months after the task force drafted a report giving a "D" rating for the PSA blood test. Previous guidelines had stated that most men should undergo screening beginning at age 50.

"Some may say that by rating the test a 'D' we're taking away the possibility of an informed decision, but we don't want that to be the case," said task force co-vice chair Dr. Michael LeFevre, a professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. "This decision does not preclude a man choosing to be screened."

The task force is the same panel that in 2009 rejected regular mammograms for women in their 40s, after also concluding the benefits don't outweigh the harms.

The new recommendation is published online May 22 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

About 242,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Americans this year, and about 28,000 will die from it, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. More than two-thirds of those deaths occur after age 75, the task force said.

PSA tests -- which measure prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland -- can detect which men are developing the malignancy. But they cannot discern between cases that will never become life-threatening and tho
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