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Prostate Cancer – Not Good News

Diagnoses of early prostate cancer continue to decline in the United States, following the 2011 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation against routine screening for the disease.

 

For those of you not familiar with this screening, the analysis involves a simple blood test that identifies levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen), a protein produced by the prostate gland. While the test can determine when cancer exists, it can also wrongly identify nonexistent cancer.

 

The resulting “false positive” finding can cause men a lot of anxiety and lead to unnecessary follow-up tests. Because of this, the task force issued a draft recommendation against routine screening in 2011 and offered a final guideline in 2012.

The result of this recommendation is fewer men are being diagnosed at exactly the time when the disease is most treatable. Today a growing number of men are living with undetected cancer. Sadly once symptoms begin to show, it is often tool late or difficult to cure.

If the USPSTF recommendations were not troubling enough for men, I was recently speaking with a representative from Fortune 500 U.S. testing lab. To say the least I was shocked to learn that in addition to men having to demand that their doctor call for a PSA blood test, patients are now being told by lab representatives the test may not be covered by their insurance.

Men don’t like to go to doctors in the first place. Once there they are told they the PSA test many not be covered and that they really don’t need a PSA test or a digital exam men say – ok lets forget it.

If you are a male over the age of 40 ask for a PSA screening. Know what your the number is and chart it.   One high or low number is not a cause for concern or dismissal. What you need to know is your PSA history over a period of years.

If you are seeing a steady increase go see an urologist and get an experts opinion.

Real men speak up and real men get tested.

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National Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation, Inc. • Simsbury, CT • 860-651-9611

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