Dick Hoag, 54, is a prostate cancer survivor. Doctors confirmed and treated the disease after they saw a rise in his PSA level.
"I'm completely clean and feel great and fortunate that we found it early and took care of it," Hoag said.
Using the PSA to screen for prostate cancer remains controversial. Now, a new study says many more men could develop advanced cases of cancer if doctors did away with the blood test.
"If we stop screening, and if we stop treating those cancers we feel are a threat, then what this study says is we're going to three times the likelihood that men will develop metastatic prostate cancer," said Dr. Herbert Lepor of NYU Langone Medical Center.
The study published in the journal Cancer compared data from the 1980s when there was no routine testing to recent years of widespread testing. Researchers found PSA and early detection could help prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body in up to 17,000 men.
A federal task force recently recommended against routine PSA tests, saying there is little to no benefit to them and that the screening leads to more tests and treatment that can be unnecessary and harmful.
Doctors saw a spike in 62-year-old David Ornes' PSA last month. The biopsy came back negative.
"It's not a benign procedure by any means, but it's still worth it to know that you have or don't have cancer and I was one of the lucky ones to know that I didn't have cancer," Ornes said.
Ornes says he wouldn't have done anything differently and he will keep getting his PSA checked.
PSA or prostate-specific antigen is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate. Higher levels can be an indicator of cancer.
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