An influential physician task force backed by the U.S. government is softening its opposition to routine prostate cancer screening. In proposed guidelines released today, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advised men aged 55 to 69 to discuss the pros and cons of screening with their doctors rather than avoiding it altogether. The task force continued to recommend against a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) in men 70 and older, concluding the potential harms of routine screening still outweigh the benefits for this age group. Since the last guidelines came out in 2012, new evidence has emerged suggesting that PSA tests may help lower the odds that tumors spread to other parts of the body or prove fatal for men aged 55 to 69, said task force chair Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. New evidence also suggests it’s becoming more common for doctors to skip aggressive treatments like surgery or radiation for men with low-risk prostate tumors in favor of doing periodic tests to see if tumors grow, an approach known as active surveillance. Read more.
Source: Reuters, April 11, 2017