Bert Vorstman MD, MS, FAAP, FRACS, FACS
Overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer is a very real risk, yet very few men are actually told of the potential for this risk. In fact, patients are not regularly informed of the risks of overdiagnosis and overtreatment for most types of cancers. In one online study of 317 men and women ages 50 to 69 years, less than 10 percent of patients surveyed indicated they had been told of these possibilities.
The survey asked the respondents how many had been informed of overdiagnosis and overtreatment when they were diagnosed, and how much overdiagnosis they were wiling to tolerate. Among men, PSA testing and colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy testing were the two most common screenings reported. Only 9.5 percent of the survey participants indicated they had been told about the possibilities of prostate cancer overdiagnosis and overtreatment. The number of men who were informed was slightly higher than the number of women, with 10.6 percent and 8.4 percent respectively.
Interestingly, patients indicated that they, in theory, were not very tolerant of overtreatment. Half of the participants reported they would not start a screening that resulted in more than one overtreated person per live saved from death due to cancer. However, when the study became personal, 59 percent indicated they would continue the cancer screenings they were already receiving, even if they learned that the results led to overdiagnosis.
What can be concluded from this study? Currently, physicians are not providing adequate counseling about screening to meet the standards and expectations their patients have. This lack of patient education could point to a lack of physician understanding about the dangers of overscreening for certain types of cancers.
Prostate cancer is one of the cancers that is prone to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Men who are undergoing routine screening for prostate cancer need to understand the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment and posed by ongoing screenings, and need to discuss their options with their doctors to avoid these risks.
To learn more about these risks and alternatives to conventional prostate cancer treatments, visit Dr. Bert Vorstman’s website,https://urologyweb.com/exclusive-medical-reports/
Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.