Routine PSA screening programs of prostate cancer detection have been a source of debate for many years. While some argue that these screenings help reduce mortality rates, others warn that the negatives of treating men who do not need to be treated due to their PSA alone can outweigh the potential for reduced deaths. A recently published long-term study of over 162,000 men in Europe addressed this issue again.
The study, which began in 1993, was named the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer. Its goal was to decide whether screening men for PSA levels would, in fact, reduce deaths from prostate cancer. Following men between the ages of 50 and 74 from eight countries, the study randomized the group to give PSA screenings at regular intervals, or give no screenings at all for a control. If the PSA levels were higher than 3.0 ng/ml, then the men received biopsies.
The results, which were recently published, showed that screening may cut prostate cancer deaths by 15 percent in the first 9 years of screening. For the first 11 years, the rate increased to 22 percent. After 13 years, no further improvement was seen. Overall, the rate of death dropped by a fifth in the screening group compared to the control.
The truth is that the number of men that had to receive the screening and risky evaluation in order to save just one life was substantial. Furthermore, much of the improved survival was not from any cancer treatment but because of additional advanced medical therapies. Furthermore, there was liberal use of the all-inclusive prostate cancer label and we know now that the very common Gleason 6 (3+3) prostate “cancer” has none of the hallmarks of a cancer and behaves as noncancerous. Therefore, men being treated for the Gleason 6 disease are exposed to many significant complications but for zero benefit.
In conclusion, the researchers suggested offering men balanced information about the dangers of prostate cancer over-diagnosis and over-treatment and the options for screening.
To learn more about his thoughts on the over-diagnosis of prostate cancer, visit Dr. Bert Vorstman at https://urologyweb.com/exclusive-medical-reports/
Dr. Vorstman also blogs at http://www.urologyweb.com/uro-health-blog/
Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.