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 (391 Responses)
  1. ZisseVed

    cialis recreational use soft cialis cialis store

    June 7, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. EncoxGtv

    canadian valley pharmacy prescription drugs for energy benzodiazepines online pharmacy

    June 8, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. CrulkAsd

    cheap cialis cialis 20mg online pharmacy 365 cialis

    June 8, 2021 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. CrulkAsd

    cialis online australia generic cialis site accept mastercard list cialis

    June 8, 2021 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. MileSwa

    super active cialis with no prescription female cialis cialis without prescription

    June 9, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. EncoxHtf

    cialis name brnd cialis 100 5mg cialis

    June 9, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. EncoxAni

    canadian veterinary pharmacy how to dispose of prescription drugs cvs accredited canadian pharmacy

    June 10, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. MileSwa

    cialis edmonton cialis and douextine supreme suppliers cialis

    June 10, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. EncoxDev

    discount online canadian pharmacy Motilium Brand Viagra

    June 12, 2021 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ZisseVed

    cialis with daxopretine [url=https://krocialis.com/ ]purchase cialis online canada[/url] when will there be generic cialis

    June 12, 2021 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. EncoxAni

    maple leaf pharmacy in canada drug stores near me no rx needed pharmacy

    June 13, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. EncoxGtv

    canadian pharmacies for dogs safe reliable canadian pharmacy prescription drugs from canada to usa

    June 13, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Leave a Reply to AbdgEncox


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.