WAPC Responds to USPSTF Final Recommendation on PSA Screening
Washington, DC, May 21, 2012 – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a “D” recommendation against the use of PSA screening in the detection of prostate cancer. Women Against Prostate Cancer is deeply disappointed in today’s announcement and the detriment that it will cause to men and their loved ones.
“In its final recommendation USPSTF advocates against the use of PSA testing in healthy men that ‘do not have symptoms that are highly suspicious for prostate cancer.’ Yet, according to the American Cancer Society and other experts early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. We know PSA testing isn’t perfect, but in combination with a physical exam, it’s really the best chance we have of catching prostate cancer in its early stages.“ commented Theresa Morrow, President of Women Against Prostate Cancer.
In its evidence review the USPSTF relied heavily on the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) study. They relied on the flawed prostate arm of the study in which approximately 50% of the control, or non-screened, group received a PSA at least once as part of their routine care and among the screened group 15% never received screening.
Additionally, authoritative research by Andrew Vickers, Hans Lilja, and others, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that even a single PSA test administered between the ages of 44 to 50 can project risk for the future diagnosis of prostate cancer. Research by the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Modeling Network has also shown that PSA screening has attributed to as much as a 45-70 percent drop in prostate cancer mortality since 1975.
“Over 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, that’s one in six men, and around 28,000 men die of the disease. So many men live because they catch the cancer early and are able to treat it, even if that just means choosing active surveillance. Recommending against PSA is taking us backwards, we will start to see more men dying from the disease,” stated Betty Gallo, Co-Founder of Women Against Prostate Cancer and wife of former Congressman Dean Gallo who passed away from prostate cancer in 1994.
Thousands of families—especially those of men who are high risk, African American men, men with a family history and veterans exposed to Agent Orange—rely on the PSA to detect cancer early and keep their loved ones around longer. Women Against Prostate Cancer would encourage further use of shared decision-making, where men speak with their healthcare provider about their individual risk of prostate cancer and whether PSA screening is appropriate for them.