Expert panel suggests PSA test may benefit some men

July 16, 2012 By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter
Expert panel suggests PSA test may benefit some men
Those with life expectancy of 10 years or more should discuss prostate cancer screen with doctor.

(HealthDay) -- Men with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should talk with their doctor about getting a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer, an expert panel recommends.

The recommendation, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), is a response to recent guidance from the U.S. Task Force, which in May recommended against PSA screening for .

The ASCO panel recommends doctors discuss the benefits and risks of PSA testing with their symptom-less patients who have a life expectancy of more than 10 years. For who would probably die earlier, the risks outweigh the benefits, the panel said.

"Men really need to go to their doctor and have a discussion of the risks and benefits of getting the ," said panel co-chair Dr. Robert Nam, a uro-oncologist at the Odette Cancer Centre at the Sunnybrook Health Science Centre of the University of Toronto in Canada. "We felt from our review that doing the PSA blood test does save lives in certain groups of men. That's where we differ from the task force recommendation."

Nam's point was that men with serious medical problems such as other cancers, and will most likely die from those diseases long before they succumb to prostate cancer.

For these men, treatment and the side effects associated with treatment might be worse than any benefit, he noted.

"PSA has been a victim of its own success," Nam said. The test's inability to distinguish prostate cancer from an , called benign prostate hyperplasia, has led to too many unnecessary biopsies.

That's why a PSA test should be part of a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but the diagnosis should also include other risk factors, such as family history, Nam said.

The report was published in the July 16 online edition of the .

The panel's conclusions were based on a study that indicated PSA screening could reduce deaths from prostate cancer by 20 percent among a group of men with more than 10 years of life expectancy, even though it did not cut deaths in other men.

The panel could not agree on when should start, Nam noted. However, he thinks 50 is a good time for most men to get their first PSA test. For men who have an increased risk, screening should start earlier, Nam added.

Dr. Anthony D'Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said "this is an attempt to educate men about the pluses and minuses of the PSA test, which is good."

PSA, however, is only one factor that can help men understand if they are at risk for prostate cancer, D'Amico noted.

"The other things that need to be discussed are whether they are at high risk for having high-grade prostate cancer -- the kind that kills you," D'Amico said.

These factors include being black or Hispanic, having an abnormal rectal exam or being older and having a family history of prostate cancer, he said.

The age factor is something that is often underestimated, D'Amico added. "The risk of prostate cancer increases with age," he explained.

And, older men are more likely to die from prostate cancer -- 50 percent of prostate cancer deaths are in men over 75, D'Amico said.

When men see their doctor they should discuss whether they are at risk for prostate cancer. If they are, then a PSA test should be considered. If they are at low risk, a might not be appropriate, he said.

Explore further: PSA test valuable in predicting biopsy need, low-risk prostate cancer

More information: For more on prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

Related Stories

PSA test valuable in predicting biopsy need, low-risk prostate cancer

October 21, 2011
The prostate-specific antigen test, commonly known as the PSA test, is valuable in predicting which men should have biopsies and which are likely to be diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer, a Mayo Clinic study has found. ...

PSA test for men could get a second life for breast cancer in women

July 13, 2011
The widely known PSA blood test for prostate cancer in men may get a second life as a much-needed new test for breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in women worldwide, scientists are reporting in a new study in the ...

New prostate cancer test gives more accurate diagnosis

April 6, 2011
In a large multi-center clinical trial, a new PSA test to screen for prostate cancer more accurately identified men with prostate cancer -- particularly the aggressive form of the disease -- and substantially reduced false ...

Recommendation against PSA test too drastic: WU expert

May 22, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A new recommendation issued today by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force against routine PSA testing for healthy men age 50 and older goes too far, says a prostate cancer expert at the Siteman Cancer ...

Recommended for you

Stem cell therapy attacks cancer by targeting unique tissue stiffness

July 26, 2017
A stem cell-based method created by University of California, Irvine scientists can selectively target and kill cancerous tissue while preventing some of the toxic side effects of chemotherapy by treating the disease in a ...

Understanding cell segregation mechanisms that help prevent cancer spread

July 26, 2017
Scientists have uncovered how cells are kept in the right place as the body develops, which may shed light on what causes invasive cancer cells to migrate.

Study uncovers potential 'silver bullet' for preventing and treating colon cancer

July 26, 2017
In preclinical experiments, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have uncovered a new way in which colon cancer develops, as well as a potential "silver bullet" for preventing and treating it. The findings may extend to ...

Compound shows promise in treating melanoma

July 26, 2017
While past attempts to treat melanoma failed to meet expectations, an international team of researchers are hopeful that a compound they tested on both mice and on human cells in a petri dish takes a positive step toward ...

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PeterD
not rated yet Jul 17, 2012
Nonsense! They just want to use it to talk more men into unnecessary surgery.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.