Prostate Tests Unnecessary After All: Urologists

American Urological Association changes its tune on PSA screening
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2013 11:44 AM CDT
Prostate Tests Unnecessary After All: Urologists
A doctor performs prostate surgery in this file photo.   (AP Photo/University of Chicago Medical Center, Bruce Powell)

The American Urological Association did a pretty drastic about-face today, saying that it no longer recommends routine prostate cancer blood screenings for men under 55, and that men aged 55 to 69 should consult their doctors about the risks before undergoing a test. Until now, the group had been a major defender of routine PSA tests for men older than 40, even as other groups soured on them, USA Today reports.

The authors tasked with revamping the group's guidelines "learned very quickly that there really was no high-level evidence supporting the use of screening with PSA," the panel's chair says. The tests come with treatments that can cause incontinence and impotence, but research suggests they only prevent about one death for every thousand tests. But some doctors and patients may not be ready to ditch the test. "The public is very enthusiastic about screening," the chair says, "partly because of our messaging." (More prostate cancer stories.)

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