Should Men Get a PSA Blood Test?
The debate continues on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as to whether or not men should Get a PSA Blood Test to screen for prostate cancer? This ongoing debate is due to the reliability of the test, best age for men to start getting a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, cost to the healthcare system and the frequency of the PSA test, if a man has two or more clean tests or there is family history of prostate cancer.
Until recently, the American Cancer Society and the medical community recommended a yearly PSA test for men once they reached the age of 50. Standard convention now states that men should be screened for prostate cancer every two years, while men who have either a history of cancer or a family history of prostate cancer should be screened more frequently.
Government officials, medical researchers, and patient advocacy groups in Europe are now engaged in the same debate regarding PSA blood test. The European Association of Urology reiterated that it does not recommend a mass prostate screening policy in Europe for men who are concerned about prostate cancer. This has been their position for the last several years. What is concerning here is that this position is being reiterated by a government official and not a medical doctor. It is no secret that countries with socialized medicine, such as most European countries and even Canada are trying to hold down medical costs by preventing or delaying tests that can detect the presence of cancer in certain groups of people.
In addition to a yearly PSA test, it is important for men over 40 to use a natural enlarged prostate treatment that can help maintain prostate health and prevent the onset of common prostate problems, such as enlarged prostate or weak urine flow.
The EU government officials based their findings for PSA screening frequency on a study of 162,387 men (age 55-70) from eight European countries. Amongst its preliminary conclusions were men who had regular PSA tests had a 31% smaller chance of dying of prostate cancer within nine years and that a larger improvement is expected with longer follow-up. Based on these findings, European government officials recommended that frequent PSA tests for all men between the ages of 50 and 70 was not necessary. Many US doctors and medical researchers similarly believe that frequent PSA screenings and biopsies do more harm than good. They believe PSA tests are inconclusive for the presence of cancer, and biopsies are equally a poor prostate cancer screening tool, due to its inaccuracy in selecting proper tissue samples and not providing lower mortality rate for men with prostate cancer.
Some researchers say PSA screening and prostate cancer treatment for men over 70 is unnecessary as most prostate cancers are slow growing, and a man at that age is more likely to die from old age or other health related issues than prostate cancer. On the other end of the spectrum, beginning testing for men aged 50 or younger, except for men with a history of prostate cancer, would require screenings en masse to find the one male with cancer or pre-cancer out of the thousands of men tested.
This position by the American and European medical communities and their respective government officials has outraged prostate cancer patients and prostate cancer advocacy groups who state without advocating for men to have regular PSA blood tests, people will develop or even die needlessly from prostate cancer, which is one of the most highly curable forms of cancer if caught early enough, in an effort to save money if
Thousands of men with prostate cancer, prostatic cancer survivors and their families state their cancer was only detected due to an elevated PSA level found during a prostate cancer screening indicating a prostate gland abnormality. While most men between the ages of 50 and 65 will develop benign prostate problems, such as enlarged prostate or prostate infection, this does not make regular prostate cancer screening less relevant, just as regular breast cancer screenings are recommended for women.
The key here is to be your own advocate. If your doctor or the insurance company will not authorize a PSA test, continue to press until they say yes, or you can go to your local Savon or CVS Pharmacy as many will perform the simple blood test for less than $50. In addition to have a yearly PSA test, make sure you are using a natural prostate supplement to ensure optimum prostate function.
To Your Health,