No Prostate Cancer PSA Screening Recommended By U.S. Health Panel – Follow Up – Another Urologist Opposes

October 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

Still on the No Prostate Cancer PSA Screening Recommended By U.S. Health Panel, voices from both survivors of the condition, medical experts and the general public are still those of outright condemnation of the proposed recommendation.

We have reported lots of such condemnation and more are still pouring out. In the below news article, Dr. David J. Grossklaus, a practicing urologist of Gilbert and the head of the Phoenix Urological Society, called the proposed recommendation “oversimplified.”

In his words “I can tell you as a person who battles prostate cancer every single day, PSA saves lives,” he said.

To read more see the news article below:

Cancer survivors, physicians and prostate-screening advocacy groups across the nation are angry and disappointed with a recent recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that men of all ages forego the routine use of a blood test to screen for prostate cancer.

Dr. David J. Grossklaus of Gilbert, a practicing urologist and the head of the Phoenix Urological Society, called the recommendation “oversimplified.”

“I can tell you as a person who battles prostate cancer every single day, PSA saves lives,” he said.

PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen, a test widely used to detect the presence of prostate cancer.

Dr. Timothy Wilt, a member of the task force as well as a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, said that while screening does indeed detect more cancers, that doesn’t correlate to a lower mortality rate.

All the men in the studies, which were conducted in the U.S., Canada and Europe, were 50 and older. Some of the studies lasted more than a decade.

The panel’s recommendation, released the first week of October, is a draft. If, after review, it is adopted, no one will be prohibited from getting a PSA test. The recommendation merely advises that doctors not routinely refer patients for PSA testing.

Grossklaus, however, expressed concern that economic factors may have played a role in the panel’s decision.

Wilt denies the suggestion.

The task force, he said, bases its decisions only on the evidence regarding both benefits and harms of a procedure.

“Cost is never considered by the task force,” he said, noting that the panel doesn’t set coverage policy for insurers or the government, although those organizations may use their recommendations to make those decisions.

Congress requires that Medicare cover PSA tests for men over age 65, which cost more than $40 million in 2009. Other insurers typically follow Medicare’s standards.

Marla Zimmerman, the director of the Mesa-based Prostate On-site Projects (POP) said the organization, which has two mobile prostate screening units that visit sites across the state, has no intention of changing its recommendations in light of the task force’s report.

She said the organization had received many e-mails and phone calls from prostate-cancer survivors incensed about the recommendation.

One of those is Tom LaBonte, a data security professional who lives in Chandler and volunteers with POP.

“I’m disgusted to read in the national media that men don’t need to take a simple test,” said LaBonte, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in his mid-40s after a PSA test during a routine physical.

He is convinced the panel’s recommendation was more about politics and cost containment than best medical practices.

“They were looking at statistics but had I followed their guidelines I wouldn’t be here now,” he said. “I find that disturbing.”

Dr. Francisco Chan, a board-certified urologist who volunteers for POP, said that the rate of complications from prostate cancer treatment had gone down significantly in the past decade, something he said was not reflected in the studies used by the panel.

“The idea that treatment is worse than the disease is wrong,” he said.

Tempe police Officer Tim Barber lost his life to prostate cancer in August at age 42. “It’s awful, it’s unusual, but it happens,” said his widow, Autumn. “And to encourage people to put off this test will increase mortality rates.”

Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall, 42, was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few weeks ago, also the result of a PSA test that was part of a routine physical.

“I may be a little emotional about this right now because I’m going through it, but as soon as I read (about the new recommendation) I thought ‘this is crazy.’ If we have something that can provide early detection and treatment of prostate cancer we need to do it.”

“Personally, it looks like (the PSA test) will have saved my life,” he said. Read more.

 

We hope the above helped. You can read up on how this all started here – No Prostate Cancer PSA Screening Recommended By U.S. Health Panel

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