-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer men at a large U.S.
health-care network are undergoing prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
screening for prostate cancer since the release of guidelines in
2008 and the publication of two large studies a few years ago, say
This study examined the U.S. Veterans Health Administration
Pacific Northwest Network, where the decline in PSA screening was
three percent among men aged 40 to 54, 2.7 percent among men aged
55 to 74, and 2.2 percent among men aged 75 and older.
The 2008 guidelines recommended against PSA screening after age
75 and noted that there was inadequate evidence for or against its
benefits for men under age 75.
The agency behind the guidelines -- the U.S. Preventive Services
Task Force -- also reported there was "convincing evidence" that
PSA screening had resulted in considerable treatment-related harm,
including erectile dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, incontinence and
death, among men treated for prostate cancer who were very unlikely
to have died from the disease.
And of the two large, widely publicized screening trials in
2009, one found that aggressive PSA screening didn't reduce
survival among men with prostate cancer, while the other concluded
that PSA screening reduced prostate cancer deaths by a modest 20
The guidelines and study findings may have had a slight effect
on PSA screening in the health network, concluded Steven B.
Zeliadt, of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, and
The latest study appears online Feb. 24 in the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
"When faced with data that could be interpreted as neither strongly supportive nor decidedly unfavorable, it is natural that health-care providers and their patients might not substantially alter their practices in regard to PSA screening," Siu-Long Yao and Grace Lu-Yao, of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
prostate cancer screening.
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