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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Routine Prostate Cancer Screenings Don’t Significantly Prevent Deaths, Research Shows

Cancer, Medical Economics, Men's Health
Two large, long-awaited studies have failed to produce convincing evidence that routine prostate cancer screening significantly reduces the chances of dying from the disease without putting men at risk for potentially dangerous and unnecessary treatment. Does this information surprise you as much as it seems to be surprising the news media and some doctors? It shouldn’t. More Information: (more…)
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“The Russert Effect”: Docs Report Surge in Appointments

Health Headlines, Heart Health, Men's Health
ABC News is reporting a phenomena that family physicians around the country are reporting to me: Tim Russert's death Friday from sudden cardiac arrest may have hit a nerve deeper than sadness. Russert's death may have lead some to fear for their own seemingly healthy bodies, or the health of a loved one – and doctors are seeing the effects. Calls are up dramatically for exams for middle aged men. (more…)
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