Washington, DC—October 10, 2011 – Women Against Prostate Cancer’s (WAPC) mission is to unite the voices and provide support for the women affected by prostate cancer. WAPC is now raising its voice to show concern over the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations against the use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing in healthy men that “do not have symptoms that are highly suspicious for prostate cancer, regardless of age, race or family history.”
“These recommendations are seriously troublesome, since the use of PSA began in the early 90’s deaths from prostate cancer have gone down. Prostate cancer still kills over 32,000 men each year. If we wait until men start to see symptoms for prostate cancer then it is likely that it will be found in it’s advanced stages when treatment is less likely to be effective,” statedTheresa Morrow, Co-Founder of WAPC.
Early prostate cancer often has no symptoms and when interpreted appropriately the PSA test in combination with the digital rectal exam is currently the best method we have to identify prostate cancer in its early stages. In the next year or two, new biomarkers are expected to be put into place to help better detect prostate cancer and identify whether these cancers indolent or aggressive.
Betty Gallo, Director of Outreach and Government Relations at theGalloProstateCancerCenterof the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Co-founder of WAPC shared, “The USPSTF sites concerns about overtreatment of prostate cancer, but prostate cancer screening in itself does not lead to overtreatment. More work needs to be done to educate men about the option of active surveillance as well as the side effects that may accompany some forms of treatment. I am firmly convinced that if PSA had been routinely in use when my husband, former Congressman Dean Gallo, was alive his cancer would have been caught early and he may still be with us today.”
We encourage men and their loved ones to engage in an informed discussion with their doctor about whether PSA screening is appropriate for them, especially men who are at high risk including African American men, men with a family history, and veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
Women Against Prostate Cancer (WAPC) is a national organization working to unite the voices and provide support for the millions of women and their families affected by prostate cancer. WAPC advocates prostate cancer education, public awareness, screenings, legislation, and treatment options. Members of the group represent over 20 states and a variety of backgrounds and expertise. To learn more, visit us online at www.womenagainstprostatecancer.org.