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Revised Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines Proposed

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests an individualized approach to prostate cancer screening.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released draft recommendations April 11 suggesting that doctors inform men ages 55 to 69 of the potential benefits and harms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood testing to screen for prostate cancer. The draft says the decision to be screened is an individual one that should be made after consulting with a physician.

Screening Gets Personal
Associate Editor Kate Yandell highlights the controversy surrounding certain cancer screening guidelines, including prostate cancer recommendations.

In Support and Service
Retired Army colonel and prostate cancer survivor Jim Williams stresses the value of informed choice in deciding whether to get prostate-specific antigen testing, especially for African-Americans, who are disproportionately affected by the disease.

Cancer and Watchful Waiting
Executive Editor Kevin McLaughlin recalls his father’s experience with watchful waiting and prostate cancer.

Making Sense of Cancer Screening Guidelines
In a webinar held in February, Cancer Today’s editor-in-chief William G. Nelson discussed the previously published 2012 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines and the nuances of prostate cancer screening and treatment.
In 2012, the USPSTF, a panel of volunteer experts that rates screening and preventive health services, advised against PSA testing for all men. The new guidelines continue to recommend against screening for men 70 and older.
“The Task Force has been long concerned about the balance between the benefits of screening detection of life-threatening prostate cancer at a curable stage versus the potential harms—overdiagnosing and overtreating non–life-threatening prostate cancer,” says medical oncologist William G. Nelson, who directs a research laboratory focused on prostate cancer treatment and prevention. Nelson also is the editor-in-chief of Cancer Today and directs the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore.
“For men age 55 to 69 years, the USPSTF now believes the best evidence has tipped in favor of the benefits of prostate cancer screening, advising men in this age group to engage physicians in a full discussion of screening risks and benefits so that informed judgments about whether to pursue a screening strategy can be made,” Nelson says.
He adds that the change in the USPSTF guidelines “likely reflects the maturing of data from the European Randomized Study of Prostate Cancer Screening, now suggesting the PSA blood testing for prostate cancer screening reduces prostate cancer deaths by 29 percent, and the increasing use of active surveillance for non–life-threatening prostate cancer, attenuating the potential harms of screening.”
The USPSTF welcomes public comment on the draft recommendations until 8 p.m. Eastern time on May 8. To learn more, visit the USPSTF website.


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