Is prostate cancer screening a mistake. See what Richard Ablin of teh New York Times has to say about it.
“EACH year some 30 million American men undergo testing for prostate-specific antigen, an enzyme made by the prostate. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994, the P.S.A. test is the most commonly used tool for detecting prostate cancer.” Read on
by Richard J. Ablin
According to Richard Ablin, Ph.D., developer in 1970 of the PSA, standard screening test for prostate cancer, routine use of the PSA is a waste of time and money, as well as possible cause of irreversible harm, including loss of sexual function. Doctors and patients take heed!
The author explains that most prostate cancers are so slow growing that a patient is more likely to die with the disease than of it. The test, he says, is no more use than a “coin toss” — other factors can elevate the PSA that have nothing to do with cancer and are not discernible from test results. A high PSA can lead to high stress, painful biopsies, and damaging treatments like surgery, intensive radiation, etc.
Ablin blames reliance on routine PSA screening to the profit-driven drug companies who peddle the tests, advocacy groups who constantly tout “early screening” as the wise way. He cites National Cancer Institute (NCI) as providing vague guidelines.
It’s time to rethink early screening of healthy people for all types of cancer; time to focus on healthy lifestyle as the best way of correcting underlying conditions that could lead to cancer. If there is a family history of the disease, all the more reason to pay extra attention to life choices. The HCG test, mentioned in the film, Rethinking Cancer, is probably the best early warning system for cancer.
It’s so important that individuals be knowledgeable medical consumers. Know all your options. As the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere else.”
Prostate Cancer screening could be a Mistake