The Maryland-headquartered association for urology professionals announced this week the latest guidelines on prostate cancer screening.
According to the American Urological Association, men ages 55 to 69 who want to undergo PSA test should talk with their doctors about the benefits and harms of testing, and proceed based on their personal values and preferences. The new guidelines do not address detection of prostate cancer in symptomatic men, but they are specifically meant to reduce prostate cancer mortality through early detection of the disease.
“There is general agreement that early detection, including prostate-specific antigen screening, has played a part in decreasing mortality from prostate cancer,” Dr. H. Ballentine Carter, who chaired the panel that developed the guideline, said in a news release. “The randomized controlled trials are more mature at this point and there is more data available today than there was in 2009. Itâ€™s time to reflect on how we screen men for prostate cancer and take a more selective approach in order to maximize benefit and minimize harms.”
AUA’s new prostate cancer screening guidelines indicate that PSA screening is not recommended in men under 40 years old. They also do not recommend routine screening in men between the ages of 40 and 54. Additionally, routine PSA screening is not recommended in men over the age of 70 or any man with less than a 10 to 15-year life expectancy.
However, 55 to 69-year-old men who are considering PSA test are advised to discuss the matter with their physician in order to understand the benefits and potential harm of the procedure. Patients should proceed based on their personal values and preferences, the AUA guidelines add.
To reduce the harms of screening, a routine screening interval of 2 years or more may be preferred over annual screening.
Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races. It is the most common cancer among American men aside from non-melanoma skin cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimated that 238,590 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 29,720 men will die of the disease in 2013.