Recommendation Against Use of PSA Sends Early Detection Backwards

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.

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  1. Mary Califano says:

    This is certainly a step backwards, if my husband’s doctor wasn’t checking his PSA, from the time his brother was diagnosed, we might have not found his prostate cancer in time.

  2. Debbie Baker says:

    I totally agree with you and everything you say is correct. We DO and WILL continue to provide FREE PSA screeing at Cruisin’ For a Cure on Sept. 22, 2012 at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. NO appointment necessary.

    Keep up the good work. Had it not been for the PSA testing, I would have lost my husband 15 years ago, instead it gave him 12 additional years between the radiation and the Lupron shots, thus Cruisin’ For A Cure was born to educate our men and their families in 1996.

  3. Don Stits says:

    Today’s announcement was a step backwards. I was 59 when diagnosed with prostate cancer after the biopsy showed gleason score 8 cancer. Genetic testing was negative for the propensity for prostate cancer. My PSA had a rapid rise from 1.4 to 2.8 in one year which was the first indication. The specialist concurred that something I previously was exposed to probably triggered the problem (military service 1969-1973).
    Second problem created by today’s announcement is for pilots (I am a private pilot with a third class medical – had to submit documentation to the FAA to allow re-issue after the cancer). FAA regulations state a .75 increase in the PSA level grounds a pilot (student, private, commercial, etc.). Today’s announcement tells pilots to forget their PSA testing and keep flying.

  4. Jim Wickstrom says:

    I was just cured of prostate cancer by doing HIFU in Bermuda as of May 25, 2012. My urologist, Dr. Scionti, is the lead proctor for the FDA HIFU program. He just returned from the AUA in Atlanta and says that it is BS that PSA testing is being comprmised.

    I would never have known I even had cancer if I hadn’t had a PSA test. Women are very good about mobilizing and organizing to demand breast cancer detection. Men are all over the map on this one and dont’ have a clue.

    At what point in time do we hold those government people accountable for this stupid decision? At what point in time do we address the fact that urologists need to be held accountable for over treatment and underrreporting the side effects?

  5. Don Goodearl says:

    “Send Grandpa home and give him a pill”. Oh, I forgot, it was “send Grandma home and give her a pill. Thank God I was detected in time and treated, not with “a pill”. Keep up the good work!

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