PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwired - Apr 8, 2013) -
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, according to new recommendations being issued by the American College of Physicians (ACP).
The vast majority of prostate cancers are slow-growing and do not cause death. It is important to balance the small benefits from screening, which can be a doorway to potential harm, leading to more testing and treatment that a man might not actually want and that might actually harm him. Procedures following a positive PSA test carry risks for complications such as sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence for a disease that might never become clinically significant.
ACP's new guidance statement, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, includes talking points for doctors to help them explain the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening and treatment. Men can also change their minds at any time by asking for screening that they have previously declined or discontinuing screening that they have previously requested.
ACP recommends against PSA testing in average-risk men younger than 50 and in men older than 69 because the harms of screening outweigh the benefits. For men younger than 50, the harms such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence may carry even more weight relative to any potential benefit.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians (www.acponline.org) is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter (www.twitter.com/acpinternists) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/acpinternists).