USPSTF: Final Recommendation Statement on Prostate Cancer Screening

AUA Responds to USPSTF Final Recommendations on Screening for Prostate Cancer

New prostate screening recommendations

Back in 2012, the USPSTF (the United States Preventative Services Task Force), an independent group of disease prevention, and scientific medicine experts sponsored by the federal government, said, PSA screening for prostate cancer is causing more damage than good. These men would be the best candidates for screening.

According to the new guidelines, men ages 70 and older should not be screened. Six years ago, the U.S.... "We're understanding more and more about what men need to be treated and what men don't".

After the USPSTF released its findings, the American Urological Association issued an immediate response agreeing with the recommendation. We thank the USPSTF for implementing strategies to solicit feedback from the community on its research plan; for engaging urologists to review the evidence report upon which these recommendations were based; and for taking into account comments from the prostate cancer community in finalizing this guidance. The harms resulting from screening may include false-positive results, which often lead to immediate, additional testing and years of additional close follow-up, including repeated blood tests and biopsies; over diagnosis, which is the diagnosis of prostate cancer in some men who would not have experienced symptoms during their lifetime; and potential harms related to treatment, which commonly include erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Specifically, clinicians should inform their African American patients about their increased risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer, as well as the potential benefits and harms of screening. The final recommendations released today support screening in this age group and are in direct alignment with the AUA's clinical practice guideline and guidelines from most other major physician groups - including the American Cancer Society, the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network - all of which advocate for shared decision making. The panel said that men aged 55 to 69 years should consult with their physicians to discuss the benefits and harms of getting a screening.

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Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University for family medicine and population health and USPSTF's vice chairman, Dr. Alex Krist, claims that the extended follow up of more than a decade in these surveys, which was not obtainable in 2012, added up greatly to the decision to change the suggestion.

A longer version of this piece was published by Stanford Health Policy.

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