PSA Screening: New Round Of Guidelines Emphasizes Importance Of Weighing Harms And Benefits

For nearly a quarter century, doctors have ordered annual PSA tests for men of a certain age to screen for prostate cancer, despite a lack of evidence that the benefits outweighed the risks -- especially when tiny, slow-growing tumors were detected.

But the landscape appears to be changing. While questions about PSA screening remain, physicians increasingly recognize the need to discuss both the harms and benefits with patients.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force shook up the status quo last July when it advised against using the simple blood test, which measures levels of a protein called prostate specific antigen, with average-risk men of any age who had no prostate cancer symptoms. That recommendation prompted a backlash from urologists, who argued that screening saves lives, but gave pause to primary care doctors.

In recent weeks, though, urology and internal medicine groups have published surprisingly similar directives.

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Source: Kaiser Health News