Study: Annual prostate cancer test doesn't save lives
January 6th, 2012
06:53 PM ET

Study: Annual prostate cancer test doesn't save lives

Researchers have found more evidence that annual prostate cancer screening, called PSA test,  in men doesn't save lives.   Scientists followed 76,000 men for 10 to 13 years and found annual screening for prostate cancer led to more diagnoses but didn't result in less deaths from the disease, according to a new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Last October, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine PSA screenings for most men because of similar concerns about the accuracy of screening using a blood test that measures a protein called prostate-specific antigen or PSA.

Dr. Otis Brawley,  the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society said the harms of screening are better proved than the benefits,which is why he supports the USPSTF recommendations.  A substantial number of men receive unnecessary treatment because of the annual tests,which can lead to harms such as impotence and incontinence and can even lead to premature death, he wrote.

For the population at large, PSA screening may not be beneficial and the harms may outweigh the benefits, said Dr. Gerald Andriole, the study's lead author and chief of division of urologic surgery at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.  The majority of prostate cancers are very slow-growing tumors and men will probably not die from it.  However, in the U.S. if a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer he's most likely going to choose the most aggressive treatment.

Researchers found that some subgroups of men did benefit from annual screenings.  "For the healthiest men, there was a significant reduction in prostate cancer mortality among men who got screened.  In addition to that group, also men who have strong family history of prostate cancer, and African-American men [who are twice as likely to die from  prostate cancer as caucasian men] should also get PSA testing," said Andriole.

"In the case of a man undergoing an annual checkup, I would not recommend that a PSA test be included with other 'routine' blood test without a specific conversation between the doctor and patient or caregiver and patient about the pros and cons for him, the patients specific circumstances," said Andriole.

Dr. Lee Ponsky, a urologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland is part of a group of researchers looking at more sensitive ways of detecting prostate cancer. He said for now, "the PSA test is the best we've got, but it certainly has its shortcomings."

While researchers are looking into different ways of screening and how to classify prostate cancer once diagnosed, Ponsky said we are several years from a simpler test such as a blood or urine one that can detect cancer and determine whether or not it needs aggressive treatment right away.

The study was published Friday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. AhbzEncox

    can you do a cash advance on american express payday loans year payday advance worth it

    February 13, 2021 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. buy tadalafil

    tadalista 5 generic tadalafil tadalafil tablets ip 20 mg

    February 13, 2021 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. notebook and pen

    Good day! I really could have sworn I've been to this
    website before but after browsing through some of the post I
    realized it's a novice to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely happy I
    came across it and I'll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

    Here is my site: notebook and pen

    February 14, 2021 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Amazing Proxies

    There is noticeably a bundle to learn about this. I assume you made certain good points in features also.


    February 15, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. zortilo nrel

    You are my inspiration , I possess few blogs and infrequently run out from to post .


    February 15, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. NbnhZisse

    viagra india price http://vigedon.com/ viagra india price

    February 16, 2021 at 06:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. zipper wallet insert for midori travelers notebook passport size

    Hi to every body, it's my first pay a visit of this weblog; this website contains amazing and actually fine material designed
    for readers.

    My web-site; zipper wallet insert for midori travelers notebook passport size

    February 16, 2021 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ClayPMilks

    This text is priceless. How can I find out more?

    my website ... ClayPMilks

    February 16, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. FbsgZisse

    cialis marke 20mg http://llecialisjaw.com/ brand cialis sale

    February 18, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. coin pouch insert

    This design is incredible! You certainly learn how to have a reader entertained.
    Between wit and your videos, I had been almost moved to start my own, personal blog
    (well, almost...HaHa!) Fantastic job. I actually loved
    the things you had to say, and more than that,
    how you will presented it. Too cool!

    Also visit my homepage – coin pouch insert

    February 20, 2021 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. side effects of hydroxychloroquine

    hydroxichlorine hydroxychloroquine side effects hydroxyclorine

    February 23, 2021 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. generic viagra cost

    https://genericviagragog.com canadian viagra

    February 27, 2021 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. KndnMile

    buy generic viagra effects of viagra why is viagra so expensive

    February 28, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.