New debate after PSA study findings

January 6, 2012 1:48:22 PM PST
Should men have the PSA test every year?

I have to tell you we still don't have a clear black and white answer.

The issue is that prostate cancer is often slow growing and it's not always deadly.

So the big concerns are they overdiagnosing prostate cancer? Are we treating men that don't need to be treated?

This new report adds to the debate.

A new long -term study finds that screening for prostate cancer, picks up more cases of cancer, but it does not save more lives.

Researchers from Washington University Medical Center followed more than 76,000 men age 55 to 74 for more than a decade, 10 to 13 years.

The study group got the PSA test every year for 6 years, and a digital rectal exam every year for 4 years.

The other group received "usual medical care" which sometimes included the PSA test, making the study less than perfect.

The results, When men were screened every year, there was a 12 percent increase in the number of cancers detected.

But no difference in the number of men who died from prostate cancer.

"The data confirm that for most men, it is not necessary to be screened annually for prostate cancer," said Dr. Gerald Andriole.

This study comes just months after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force called for an end to routine PSA testing for healthy men age 50 and older.

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