Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Get Yourself Tested For Prostate Cancer

As a prostate cancer survivor it's hard for me to believe these powerful and influential organizations have come out in favor of delayed testing for prostate cancer even though prostate cancer among younger men has increased sixfold in the past 20 years. Despite this fact, all four of these organizations suggest we do less rather than more prostate cancer screening. These organizations believe men are so dumb and/or fearful, they literally can't handle the truth about prostate cancer. They conclude the majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will make a regrettable and medically unnecessary treatment decisions, therefore, the best thing we can do is keep men in the dark and ignorant about prostate cancer.

There are new tests available to help men decide whether their cancer is aggressive or whether active surveillance is the best treatment option. In light of this, I believe the following four organizations need to update their prostate cancer screening recommendations and come out in favor of testing for prostate cancer at age 40. Age 30 if prostate cancer runs in the family or if you are a black male.

Here's the list of organizations that are against early prostate cancer screening and detection:

1. The American Urological Association (AUA), the leading organization representing urologists, is recommending more moderate use of prostate cancer screening tests.The AUA recommends that men ages 55 to 69 discuss the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening with their doctors before deciding whether to be screened. It recommends against screening for men younger than 55 who are at average risk, as well as for men 70 and older.

2. The American College of Physicians (ACP) released a similar guidance statement in April. The ACP says men between the ages of 50 and 69 should discuss the limited benefits and substantial harms of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test with their doctor before undergoing screening for prostate cancer. The guideline says only men between the ages of 50 and 69 who express a clear preference for screening should have the PSA test.

3. The American Cancer Society recommends that men discuss the possible risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with their doctor before deciding whether to be screened. The discussion about screening should take place starting at age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and expect to live at least 10 more years. It should take place at age 45 for men who are at higher risk, including African-American men and men who have a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer, and at age 40 for men at even higher risk.

4. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new recommendations against prostate cancer screening. The USPSTF now recommends that regardless of age, men without symptoms should not routinely have the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer.

I call upon all four of these organizations to change their prostate cancer screening recommendations and I urge men NOT to follow them. Get tested, even if your physician tells you it's unnecessary. It's your life not theirs.
Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer can  be previewed and purchased at

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