Expert calls for an end to inappropriate use of PSA screening

Cancer, Mental Health
Each year some 30 million American men undergo testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an enzyme made by the prostate. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994, the P.S.A. test is the most commonly used tool for detecting prostate cancer along with a digital rectal exam (DRE -- note, the two should ALWAYS be done together for prostate cancer screening). In an op-ed in the New York Times, Richard J. Ablin, a research professor of immunobiology and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the president of the Robert Benjamin Ablin Foundation for Cancer Research, writes, "The test’s popularity has led to a hugely expensive public health disaster.” He goes on to write, “As Congress searches for ways to cut costs in our healthcare system, a…
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New guidelines say physicians should educate men on risks and benefits of PSA testing

Cancer, Men's Health
On an edition of ABC World News recently, Dr. Richard Besser reported that "there's a big change in store" for prostate cancer screening. He went on to say, "Since 1997, the American Cancer Society (ACS) ... hasn't routinely recommended the PSA test, but most doctors have done it. Now they're saying you need to have a conversation between you and your doctor before that test is done." The Los Angeles Times reports, "New (ACS) guidelines ... emphasize that physicians should better educate men about both the risks and benefits of using the PSA test for screening." The ACS "also urged greater use of education specialists, pamphlets, videos, and other materials." The AP reported that the ACS "wants doctors to talk to men and give them plenty of information before they have a…
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New report questions effectiveness of Saw Palmetto for prostate health

Alternative Medicine, Men's Health
According to a new report by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD), saw palmetto might not be as effective as we used to think for reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Many men take saw palmetto to decrease urinary symptoms associated with BPH. Several clinical trials have shown that it is modestly effective for this use, and some studies suggest that it can be as effective as finasteride (Proscar) or tamsulosin (Flomax). But not all studies have been positive. A 2009 meta-analysis suggests that saw palmetto might modestly reduce some measures of BPH symptoms such as nocturia, but does not significantly reduce other measures of BPH symptoms including peak urine flow. The reason for different study results is unclear. But it might be due to different study designs or different saw…
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