July 20, 2016 – PSA Screening, Again


Anchor lead:  Men need to carefully weigh the evidence when it comes to PSA screening, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Data used by the US Preventive Services Task Force to recommend against PSA screening for most men is suspect, a recent research letter in the New England Journal of Medicine asserts, pointing out that study methods that should have been followed weren’t.  William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says for now, each man needs to discuss the matter with his doctor.

Nelson:  In an environment where we know PSA screening improves survival, where we have tools to combat the overdiagnosis problem, the tendency to diagnose many men with prostate cancer who aren’t going to get into trouble, I think that’s the way forward and of course these issues have to be part of an informed discussion between patient and physician.  Someone who’s having difficulty with cardiovascular disease, strokes and heart attacks may not elect to pursue prostate cancer screening.   :29

Nelson says this issue of screening or not is just one more example of personalized medicine, where each man’s likelihood of risk and benefit must be weighed.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.