This Seattle Times April 11 article states that the influential US government advisory board that debunked prostate cancer screening in 2012 has reversed course. The US Preventive Services Task Force, after 5 years of observation, as well as outspoken backlash against their 2012 statement, now conceded that PSA testing coupled with “active observation” will help save lives. The Task Force does not recommend PSA testing earlier than age 55, or after age 70.
Why the concern? Overtreatment. Some patients overreact to the news they have cancer and too quickly opt for treatment that may be ill-advised for their present condition. Many prostate cancers are slow-growing and relatively non-life threatening. However, such cancers can change course, becoming more aggressive within a short period of time. This is where “active observation” plays a crucial role. Regular checkups including PSA screening can go a long way towards determining whether a change in the cancer is afoot.
The Campfire Boyz Foundation supports active observation and urges all men over age 50 to ask their doctor to include PSA screening with their annual checkup. The cost is nominal, the knowledge may save your life.