This week the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new guidelines regarding prostate cancer screening, which recognize and recommend an individualized approach to screening for men aged 55 to 69 years.
This recommendation is a change to the 2012 recommendation that discouraged the use of PSA testing for prostate cancer screening. That recommendation led to a nationwide decrease in prostate cancer early detection, and widespread confusion regarding prostate cancer screening among patients and providers.
Now, after further review of available clinical evidence and consideration of physician input, the USPSTF has updated their recommendations. They recommend that based on risk factors such as race and family history, and following a discussion with their health care providers, “shared-decision making” should be employed prior to initiation of prostate cancer screening.
While not all men may benefit from screening, an individualized approach to prostate cancer detection may help identify those men who will benefit most from screening. For men’s health advocates and prostate cancer survivors, the updated guidelines should come as a welcome victory in the fight to eliminate suffering from prostate cancer. Men are encouraged to discuss the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with their primary care and urologic providers. A simple PSA blood test and digital rectal examination may prove life-saving.
Bottom line: Don’t “fear the finger”’; talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screening!
Jeffrey J. Tomaszewski, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Urology and the Director of Genitourinary Oncology at Cooper. For more information about prostate cancer, click here.