SOURCE: Robert Benjamin Ablin Foundation for Cancer Research

March 04, 2010 13:16 ET

The Discoverer of PSA Pleased to Learn American Cancer Society Finally Agrees With His Long Standing Position

The PSA Test Could Not and Cannot Do What It Has Been Purported to Do for Screening for Prostate Cancer, According to Dr. Richard J. Ablin (Robert Benjamin Ablin Foundation for Cancer Research)

TUCSON, AZ--(Marketwire - March 4, 2010) -  The following is a statement from Dr. Richard J. Ablin, "One aspect of health care irrespective of 'reform' (or as some refer 'overhaul') is irresponsible spending on laboratory tests that in the manner used cannot do what they purport to do, but in the process additionally lead to unnecessary treatment with significant side effects. One such test for which men have been misled about is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which costs the health care system billions of dollars per year for the test and billions more dollars due to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer.

"A student of prostate cancer for 40+ years, I discovered PSA in 1970. PSA is an indicator ('harbinger') of recurrence of disease following treatment, it is not however cancer-specific and cannot, in the manner which the PSA test is currently used, be a screening test for prostate cancer. Nonetheless, $3 billion/year is spent by the Veterans Administration and Medicare on PSA screening for prostate cancer and the media have conveyed to the average man 'get screened and treated.' Since prostate cancer is an age-related disease, a biopsy of the prostate (often the next step following screening) will, by way of example, find cancer in 65% of men between the ages of 60-69. However, prostate cancer is much akin to a turtle and a rabbit in an open box. The 'turtle,' a non-life threatening cancer, wanders around the box, while the 'rabbit,' a potentially life-threatening (killer) cancer, hops around and might at any time jump out of the box, and spread (metastasize).

"Thus, while a biopsy can diagnose prostate cancer, we cannot distinguish which cancer is the 'turtle' and which is the 'rabbit,' i.e., the killer, and needs treatment. Although it is frequently stated 1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer, a little appreciated fact is more men die with prostate cancer than from it.

"The health care system, and specifically therein, the urological community, can be financially more responsible by being far more conservative in administering screening tests (i.e., only for those with a family history of prostate cancer, those with symptoms, or other high-risk groups), by limiting prostate biopsies, and by being more judicious when and which, if any treatment(s), is appropriate."

Richard J. Ablin, Ph.D., is a research professor of immunobiology and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Arizona Cancer Center and BIO5 Institute, and president of the Robert Benjamin Ablin Foundation for Cancer Research, Tucson, AZ (See: www.prostatefoundation.org)

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