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PSA testing continues in older men despite advice to stop

In 2008, a panel of experts, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), recommended that men 75 and older should not undergo routine PSA with the intent to screen for early-stage prostate cancer. However, men do not appear to be heeding this advice, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Research suggests that older men whose PSA result indicates the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate gland may be harmed more than they are helped. The cancer is not likely to progress to a life-threatening stage in the man’s lifespan, but in the meantime a man faces the downsides of biopsies and treatment.

On May 22, the USPSTF released its final recommendations on PSA testing after a period of public comment. The group reviewed evidence published since 2008 and concluded that the harms of PSA testing outweigh the benefits regardless of age.

Physicians will continue to offer PSA testing, but with more caveats. “The evidence suggests the benefit of testing is small, if any, and the side effects of overtreatment are a real concern,” says Dr. William Kormos, editor in chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. “The general approach should not be to routinely test PSA, but men can still decide to do so if they are aware of the downsides.”

Posted by: Dr.Health

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