To say we are disappointed in a decision by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to recommend against use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for cancer screening is an understatement. Data continues to confirm that early testing for prostate cancer, in particular the use of the PSA test, has contributed to the decline in death rates from prostate cancer by nearly 40 percent over the last two decades.
Oddly, the task force did not include any physician who treats prostate cancer and chose to ignore credible data from recent studies when they issued their recommendation. The Urology Group has treated thousands of patients with prostate cancer and we know for a fact that early detection is the key.
Here are some prostate cancer facts for patients and families to consider:
- Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in American men, second only to lung cancer.
- One in six men will get prostate cancer at some point and nearly 30,000 men will die from the disease this year.
- One in 12,000 men under age 40 will be diagnosed.
- African American men carry the highest burden of prostate cancer in the U.S. with an incidence rate 60% higher. They are two-and-a-half times more likely to die from the disease than men of any other ethnic group.
We feel so strongly that screening is key to survival that we have launched a community awareness program in the Greater Cincinnati area. For information on free prostate cancer screenings I encourage you to visit www.freeprostatecincy.com. If you’d like to support additional research consider joining us for our annual Great Prostate Cancer Challenge 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, September 8. You’ll find more information in Education/Events section of our website.
My advice to all men 50 and older–or to men who are 40 and are African American or have a family history of prostate cancer–is to make a prostate exam a part of your annual checkup. We know screening works and will continue to be an advocate for the PSA test despite what a government panel believes.