Prostate Cancer Screening Still Not Recommended for All

“Prostate Cancer Screening Still Not Recommended for All.” By Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times.

A major European study has shown that blood test screening for prostate cancer saves lives, but doubts remain about whether the benefit is large enough to offset the harms caused by unnecessary biopsies and treatments that can render men incontinent and impotent.

The study, published Wednesday in The Lancet, found that midlife screening with the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, screening test lowers a man’s risk of dying of the disease by 21 percent. The relative benefit sounds sizable, but it is not particularly meaningful to the average middle-age man, whose risk of dying of prostate cancer without screening is about 3 percent. Based on the benefit shown in the study, routine PSA testing would lower his lifetime cancer risk to about 2.4 percent.

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