December 17, 2015 – PSA Screening


Anchor lead: Fewer men are being screened for prostate cancer using PSA testing, Elizabeth Tracey reports

In the wake of the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations a few years ago, fewer men are having PSA screening for prostate cancer, and sure enough, there have been fewer diagnoses of the disease.  Ballantine Carter, a prostate cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, interprets the data.

Carter: It doesn’t necessarily mean there are fewer cases it means there are fewer cases being diagnosed. What men should be interested in is whether that will have an impact on deaths from prostate cancer and it’s far too early to tell because it would probably take five to ten years to find that out. But sort of a back of the envelope calculation it’s possible that given the decrease in the number of new cases per year that could translate into approximately 1200 additional deaths from prostate cancer per year.  :32

Carter says the task force was likely responding to allegations of overtreatment of prostate cancer, and that’s changed quite a lot.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.