Researchers have recently revealed that the prostate screening numbers seem to be falling as the screening advice and reports continue to confuse both doctors and potential patients.
A team of researchers led by Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian urologic oncologists, Dr Jim Hu, released a study in the JAMA Surgery which shows the effects of the new prostate screening guidelines.
According to the study, practices seem to be following the advice of the guidelines which recommend a steering away from screening and other similar detection methods.
However, the new guidelines and the recent studies surrounding it seem to be more likely to generate debates as a generally agreed on idea has not been established.
With the new advice to steer away from the routine cancer screenings being respected, research shows that prostate surgery numbers are falling, but this also poses the question if possibly curable forms of the disease are not failing to be detected.
The guidelines which are causing such debates were released back in 2012 by the USPSTF or the United States Preventive Services Task Force, which recommended people to not use a certain blood test.
The specific blood test featured the use of PSA or a prostate-specific antigen which was used to check most men for signs of prostate cancer.
This is the second most common cause of death amongst the disease’s types, as it causes an average number of 27,000 deaths every year. It is also very common, with almost 240,000 cases being detected every year.
Still, the USPSTF also feared that men were put to more harm rather than good after taking the PSA test. The preventive task force argued that the screening did not reveal a large number of patients in need of cancer treatment.
Instead, it suggested that it put people through unnecessary surgeries as they were operated on for non-harmful prostate tumors. These prostate surgeries and treatments would sometimes lead to adverse reactions as they could lead to various side effects including incontinence and impotence.
The recommendation was extremely controversial as even the American Cancer Society and the American Urology Association are on opposing sides of the matter.
Dr. Hu and his research team analyzed the records of about 10 percent of the practicing urologists and noted that the number of prostate cancer biopsies marked a 29 percent drop.
This was also coupled with the fall in prostate surgery numbers, that have mostly been replaced with other treatment methods. This would include radiation and active surveillance, which delays treatment until the disease is seen to be advancing.
Still, this may not be a necessarily good thing. As the screenings decrease, the number of diagnosed cases could also drop which would lead to a higher number of undetected or advanced cases of the disease.
As the USPSTF has announced that it will be re-analyzing its guidelines, Hu and fellow researchers hope that they will find a solution that will prevent both unnecessary prostate screening and the risk of developing an undetected form of prostate cancer.
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