Healthy men don't need prostate screening: US panel

Routine screening for prostate cancer does not help save the lives of healthy group and often triggers the need for more tests and treatments, the US government health panel pronounced Friday.The US Preventive Services Task Force's draft recommendations, which will be open to public comment on Tuesday, have been likely to face the pushback from advocates of the PSA blood test as well as from drugmakers and doctors who benefit from the now-lucrative screening industry.Based on the results of five clinical trials, the recommendation to avoid the prostate-specific antigen test -- which measures the level of the protein in the blood -- applies to healthy group of all ages but suspicious symptoms.But it could have an generally dramatic impact on care for group aged 50 and older, who have been routinely administered the PSA test."The principal risk is overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Most of the cancers that we acknowledge have been not cancers that would have ever gone on to cause the man harm in his lifetime," panel co-chair Mike LeFevre told AFP."The vast majority of cancers don't need to be treated and yet about 90 percent of group getting the PSA-based diagnosis here in the United States end up getting treated, and the risks of treatment have been significant."The task force also found no evidence that other forms of screening, such as an ultrasound or digital rectal exam or ultrasound, have been effective. It did not examine whether testing was beneficial to group who have already been treated for the disease or who show suspicious symptoms.Ana Fadich of the Men's Health Network called the recommendations "puzzling," and pointed to evidence that prostate cancer deaths have dropped thanks to screening and awareness.The decision puts high-risk patients such as African American group and those exposed to the Agent Orange defoliant "in great danger" as they may be discouraged from screening, she said.But LeFevre stressed that the panel was not recommending foregoing prostate cancer detection completely --! and ins tead suggested that those with symptoms consistent with generally aggressive prostate cancer should get diagnostic testing, which is different than routine screening."The most important research that needs to be done is to define characteristics of cancers in order to differentiate the cancers that need to be treated from those that don't need to be treated," he said.Theresa Morrow, co-founder of Women Against Prostate Cancer, acknowledged that PSA screening was imperfect but pronounced it was the best available tool at this time."Early stage prostate cancer doesn't have any symptoms, so there is no other way to acknowledge it," she added. "Most of the times, if symptoms have been occurring, you're already at late stage cancer. The chances of then being able to cure it have been the lot lower."One million group who received the PSA test and would otherwise not have been treated got surgery, radiation therapy or the combination of both between 1986 and 2005, according to the task force.It pointed to evidence suggesting that up to five in 1,000 group will die within the month of prostate cancer surgery and between 10 and 70 in 1,000 group will suffer from serious complications."Radiotherapy and surgery result in adverse effects," the task force added, noting that 200 to 300 in 1,000 group treated with such therapies have urinary incontinence or impotence.An estimated 217,730 group in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 32,050 died last year from the disease, the second most common form of cancer in group after skin cancer.oh/jm

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