Lack of PSA testing leads to Metastatic Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Rise in the US
A recent medical study has shown that incidences of Metastatic Prostate Cancer diagnosis have risen in the US. In an interview conducted by MedicalResearch.com, Dr Jim C. Hu MD MPH (Professor of Urology Weill Cornell Medicine) explained the findings further.
Dr. Hu highlighted recent criticism of PSA testing, most specifically regarding its correlation to over-diagnosis and over-treatment. Some formal bodies in the US have gone as far as to warn against PSA testing in men aged 75 years and older. This is a cause for concern considering results from this latest study indicate that, after years of decline following the introduction of PSA testing, there has been a rise in the incidence of metastatic cancer at diagnosis among men aged 75 and over, meaning that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate into other parts of the body.
When discussing what should be taken away from the study, Dr. Hu states that the US: “[is] doing a better job of educating and informing men that not all prostate cancers need to be treated. Several studies earlier this year demonstrated that the use of active surveillance, or just monitoring, has increased to roughly 50% of diagnosed prostate cancers. Therefore, the argument that diagnosis of cancer compels men to be treated is no longer the case”.
He goes on to discuss the importance of what happens after a PSA screening, detailing that high PSA levels don’t necessarily need to result in invasive treatment or biopsy. Instead, a focus should be put on educating patients so they understand not only what their results mean, but what next steps are available and/or suitable to them. These next steps can include ongoing monitoring and / or precision imaging, which can better assess the risk of prostate cancer spread.
To conclude, Dr. Hu cited a European study which found that PSA testing is associated with a lower risk of death from prostate cancer.
The bottom line is that, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the available treatment options are. Moreover, with the latest research indicating that even patients with intermediate- or high risk cancer can have treatment with minimal side effects, there really is no reason to not have regular PSA screening.