Submitted By: Information, News and Press Releases
Source: CancerNews.com Founder's Commentary 5/28/2012
Prostate Cancer Screening
In a Draft Recommendation Statement from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) (http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf12/prostate/draftrecprostate.htm) they stated:
"Whereas the USPSTF previously recommended against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in men aged 75 years and older and concluded that the evidence was insufficient to make a recommendation in younger men, the USPSTF now recommends against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in all age groups."
Commentary on Prostate Cancer Screening Recommendations:
We are entering a time where the cost of healthcare is going to exceed the governments ability to fund diagnostic tests and therapeutic procedures which may be of benefit to patients. Although the United States Preventive Services Task Force is "suppose" to function as an independent group of national experts their recommendations should be viewed with a note of caution. It is true that Prostate cancer is uncommon before age 50 years and very few men die of prostate cancer before age 60. However, many of us are living well into our 80s and 90s. Since late stage prostate cancer is incurable, early detection and treatment may be the only way we can currently cure the disease. It is true that many patients may be treated for disease that won't manifest during their lives, but ultimately the choice should be between the patient and their caregiver.
The AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) website states:
"Created in 1984, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) is an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, or preventive medications. The USPSTF is made up of 16 volunteer members who come from the fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics/gynecology, and nursing. All members volunteer their time to serve on the USPSTF, and most are practicing clinicians.
When Congress authorized the USPSTF, it required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the Task Force's work. The 1998 Public Health Service Act and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act instruct AHRQ to provide administrative, research, technical, and communication support to the Task Force. As part of this support, AHRQ helps with day-to-day operations, coordinates the production of evidence reports, ensures consistent use of Task Force methods, and helps disseminate Task Force materials and recommendations. The Director of AHRQ also appoints new USPSTF members, with guidance from the Chair of the Task Force. While AHRQ staff supports the Task Force, it is important to note that the Task Force is an independent body, and its work does not require AHRQ or HHS approval."