Updated Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Screening
Commentary by Badar M. Mian, MD FACS
According to the draft statement released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, men may be offered prostate cancer screening, but on an individualized basis. This is a reversal of the task force’s previous recommendations in 2012 where they had recommended against prostate cancer screening for all men.
The task force, which is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts, now recommends that men between the ages of 55 and 69 may undergo prostate cancer screening but the decision should be based on informed discussion regarding the risks and benefits of screening. For men age 70 and older, the task force does not recommend routine screening for prostate cancer in men who are without any symptoms.
The previous recommendations released in 2012 had categorically recommended against screening for prostate cancer for all men regardless of their age or risk factors. The updated draft recommendations allow prostate cancer screening for relatively younger men (age 55-69) and those men with high risk features (African Americans and family history). However, the decision to test for prostate cancer should be an active one i.e. after a discussion regarding the potential benefits and harms between the patients and the clinicians.
This is a significant development that potentially affects tens of millions of men in the United States each year. The task force’s 2017 recommendations now appear to be more in line with the current clinical practice and recommendations from other specialty organizations.
Badar M. Mian, MD FACS is a Urologist with Urologoical Institute Northeastern New York, Community Care Physicians You can find the updated recommendations for Prostate Cancer Screening from the United States Preventive Services Task Force here.