Monday, July 2, 2012

Radiation oncologists against new USPSTF prostate cancer guideline

The United States Preventative Services Task Force issued a new guideline in May recommending against PSA screening for prostate cancer altogether.  This government based panel has been getting the deserved pushback from the American Medical Association (AMA) as well as from the American Urological Association (AUA).  

Here's a prior blog post with my thoughts on this as well as the AUA response with current PSA screening guidelines from the AUA as well the American Cancer Society.

I wanted to share in this post a statement from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).  These doctors are on the front lines with us (urologists) in fighting prostate cancer.  ASTRO also has lined up against the new USPSTF guidelines.  

ASTRO statement

My analysis:

I agree with Dr. Gunderson's quote on this issue.  There certainly is an over diagnosis issue with prostate cancer.  However, as active surveillance is becoming a viable method to keep track of the disease, advocating for a wholesale cessation of PSA based screening is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Dr. Sandler also makes a great point in the release. The prostate cancer screening issue is not a problem that a cookie cutter approach can solve.  With multiple factors such as age, expected longevity, race, symptoms, and family history, each situation is unique and each man should have the opportunity to make an individual informed decision on the matter with his physician.

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