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6 Authoritative Groups Offer Their Stance on PSA Screening for Prostate Cancer
February 3, 2003
Source: Urology Times 31 (1), Jan'03
Philadelphia (Urology Times) - PSA screening for prostate cancer (CaP)
has not yet been proven to save lives. However, this simple blood test
is widely credited for the upsurge in early diagnosis of the disease,
which correlates with the declining mortality rate from CaP.
This recent attention was stimulated by an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine (pdf)(137: 915-6, 2002)., revealing the findings of a study by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The study is important because in a 1996 study the
USPSTF had concluded that PSA screening was "not recommended." The newly revised findings are more muted, the body finding only that there is 'insufficient evidence to recommend" routine PSA screening. The USPSTF is an independent body of experts---purposely including no urologists---sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a branch of the U.S. Public Health Service.
The USPSTF evidence, serving as the basis for the current conclusion, is detailed in this report .
In the Urology Times report, AUA president E.D.Vaughan commented that "if we picked up this disease early, and if intervention is better than watchful waiting, then we should be pursuing early detection." The official AUA position on PSA screening is that the test should be offered annually to all men over the age of 50 and to high risk men beginning at age 45.