Prostate Cancer: PSA screenings unnecessary for healthy men

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DENVER -- A government panel concluded Monday that healthy men no longer need to be screened for prostate cancer using a PSA blood test. 

The US Preventative Services Task Force said the life saving benefits were outweighed by the harm that can come from over diagnosis and over treatment. 

The panel said the one in 1,000 men who are screened will be saved by early detection, but 40 out of 1,000 are left with permanent disabilities from their treatment, such as urinary incontinence or impotence, and almost all of them had slow-growing, no-fatal cancers. 

But some local Urologists disagree with this approach. 

“I think men should be screaming and yelling because we are finding people with early prostate cancer that is curable and treatable,” said Dr. Dick Augspurger, the medical director at The Urology Center of Colorado.  He believes the PSA blood test saves lives.  “The death rate has gone down 40 percent.”

He believes it is better to know if you have cancer, and then discuss if you want treatment.  He fears insurance companies will use this recommendation as an excuse not to pay for the screening. 

That would be bad news for people like Dean Becker of Littleton.  His father and uncle died of prostate cancer, and he’s been getting PSA tests since he was 40. 

“It’s in the family,” he said.

Prostate Cancer Screening: Decision Guide

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