Panel Advises Against PSA Cancer Screening

May 23, 2012

USA Today

Doctors should no longer offer the PSA prostate cancer screening test to healthy men because they're more likely to be harmed by the blood draw — and the chain of medical interventions that often follows — than be helped, according to government advisory panel's final report.

Even after studying more than 250,000 men for more than a decade, researchers have never found the PSA to save lives, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of doctors that advises the government on cancer screenings and other ways to avoid disease.

Yet the PSA can cause harm.

That's because the PSA, which measures a protein called prostate-specific antigen, often leads to unnecessary needle biopsies for men who don't actually have cancer. Even worse, those biopsies lead many men to be treated for slow-growing cancers that never needed to be found and that are basically harmless, says task force chairwoman Virginia Moyer, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston... Read More