Now, though, the Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft recommendation statement weighing the potential benefits against the potential harm of PSA-based screening.
CHICAGO (AP) - An influential USA government advisory panel is dropping its opposition to routine prostate cancer screening in favor of letting men decide for themselves after talking with their doctor.
"MHN believes all men should speak to their healthcare provider about a baseline prostate cancer screening at age 40, earlier if they wish, and consult with their health care provider about screenings beyond that age", Fadich said.
In proposed guidelines released today, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advised men aged 55 to 69 to discuss the pros and cons of screening with their doctors rather than avoiding it altogether. The USPSTF gave PSA testing a grade of D, meaning that it was likely to do more harm than good. In 2008, the group said there was too little evidence to make any kind of recommendation for younger men but said those 75 and older shouldn't be screened.
"Our advocates have been in ongoing contact with the USPSTF by sharing information on how the PSA test saves lives", says Jamie Bearse, ZERO's CEO.
The USPSTF's new recommendation points to the need to prioritize research on high-risk groups like African-Americans and those with a family history of the disease, as well as continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of diagnostic tools to determine aggressive disease.
Does a high PSA mean you have cancer?
"The other thing we have now is evidence that three men who would have developed metastatic prostate cancer won't have metastatic prostate cancer with screening", he added. Men with prostate cancer may be candidates for surgery or radiation. The harms of screening include frequent false-positive results, which often lead to immediate, additional testing and years of additional close follow-up, including repeated blood tests and biopsies.
The draft recommendation and evidence reviews are posted for public comment for consideration in the final recommendation and evidence review. Just as important, more men are opting for active surveillance instead of treatment. Actor Ben Stiller previous year divulged that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer after receiving a "baseline" PSA test at age 46, crediting the test with saving his life.
"We've been jumping up and down about this for years and years", Dr. Benjamin Davies, an associate professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told CNBC.
The new guidelines are relatively simple: Men between the ages of 55 to 69 should start a conversation with their doctors about whether to have a PSA test and focus on their own values and priorities.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with more than 161,000 new cases each year and over 26,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
"Many men will have a high PSA at some point in their lives, and most of those will not be prostate cancer but that will be something that the patient and doctor will be anxious about" and will evaluate, Krist told ABC News.
One specialist views the new recommendation as a correction of an error the task force made in 2012. At least 60 men suffer urinary incontinence and sexual impotence from the treatment.
The panel noted that "Many men will learn they have a false-positive result after getting a biopsy".
The draft recommendation was published on the task force's website on April 11, and it is open to public comment until May 8. It recommends against testing men aged 70 and older. "As the second leading cancer killer of men, it occupies a niche among diseases that closely parallels breast cancer among women both in terms of incidence and death rates in their respective populations", said Dr. Jean Bonhomme, a physician, board member of MHN, and founder of the National Black Men's Health Network.