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Task Force Says Men Age 75 and Older Should Not Be Screened For Prostate Cancer
Date:8/4/2008

y incontinence and impotence. These slow-growing cancers may never have affected a patient's health or well-being had they not been detected by screening.

"Because many prostate cancers grow slowly, early detection may not benefit a patient's health and in some cases may even cause harm," said Task Force Chair Ned Calonge, M.D., M.P.H., who is also chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "We encourage men younger than 75 to discuss with their clinicians the potential -- but uncertain -- benefits and the possible harms of getting the PSA test before they decide to be screened."

Current data show that one-third of all men in the United States over 75 are receiving PSA testing. Although most major medical organizations suggest that prostate cancer screening may be discontinued in men with a life expectancy of fewer than 10 years, the Task Force is the first group to define an explicit age cutoff above which screening is likely to be ineffective or harmful. The results of two ongoing clinical trials -- the National Cancer Institute's Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial and the European Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer -- should help to clarify the potential benefits of screening in men under the age of 75.

The Task Force is the leading independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care. The Task Force, which is supported by AHRQ, conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of a broad range of clinical preventive services, including screening, counseling, and preventive medications. Its recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services.

Once the embargo lifts at 5:00 p.m. EDT on August 4, the recommendations and materials for clinicians will be available on the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/us
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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