The blood test used to detect prostate Cancer, known as PSA screening, has been a source of controversy for years. Now a federal task force is releasing final recommendations on the test.
Sixty-six year-old Bill Richards is a prostate cancer survivor. "I was diagnosed with a PSA that began to rise," he said.
Now a federal task force is recommending against blood tests that measure PSA for all men, no matter their age. The United States Preventive Services Task Force says there's strong evidence that PSA screening leads to more tests and treatment that can be unnecessary and harmful.
"Most men who are treated for their prostate cancer would have lived just as well and just as long without that treatment," said Dr. Michael LeFevre, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Research shows prostate biopsies, surgery and radiation can lead to lifelong problems such as urinary incontinence and erectile and bowel dysfunction.
The American Cancer Society agrees doctors should not use the PSA to routinely screen for prostate cancer, but many urologists argue the test saves lives.
The PSA test checks for a specific protein the prostate makes. While it's not perfect, Doctor Herbert Lepor with NYU's Langone Medical Center, says it can find cancers early when they can
be effectively cured. "If we go backward and we totally abandon screening, then we're going to go back to the 1980s when prostate cancer was a death sentence," he said.
Richards chose to have his prostate removed after a biopsy found early stage cancer. "I think had I not gotten the PSA test... there was a real risk that the cancer would have developed inside me without me knowing," he said.
He's thankful to be cancer free 12 years later.
Bigad Shaban - CBS News
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