Academic Urologists encourages men to continue getting screened for prostate cancer

Posted on October 11, 2011

Dr. Amar Singh, chief of minimally invasive surgery and urologic oncology at Erlanger, encourages men to continue getting screened for prostate cancer and urges them to speak with their urologists about the importance of these screenings. This comes on the heels of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendation on the use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The USPSTF announced their recommendation against the use of the test in men under age 75 last week.

Prostate Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. Even more startling, 49 percent of all new cancers diagnosed in Hamilton County will be prostate cancer. However, if detected early, there is a 99 percent survival rate.

“What men need to realize about the new recommendations from the USPSTF is that prostate cancer in men is not a black and white diagnosis,” states Dr. Singh. “Each man and his PSA findings should be studied on a case by case study.”

Dr. Singh stands by the American Urological Association (AUA) position on the early detection of prostate cancer. Last Friday, the AUA released the following statement:

“The American Urological Association (AUA) applauds the U.S. Prevention Service Task Force for its interest in reviewing the use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. However, we are concerned that the Task Force’s recommendation will ultimately do more harm than good to the many men at risk for prostate cancer both here in the United States and around the world. The AUA’s current clinical recommendations support the use of the PSA test, and it is our feeling that when interpreted appropriately, the PSA test provides important information in the diagnosis, pre-treatment staging or risk assessment and monitoring of prostate cancer patients.

Not all prostate cancers require active treatment and not all prostate cancers are life threatening. The decision to proceed to active treatment is one that men should discuss in detail with their urologists to determine whether active treatment is necessary, or whether surveillance may be an option for their prostate cancer.

The AUA is currently preparing a new clinical guideline on this topic, and has convened a panel of experts to review not only the use of the PSA test, but also early detection of prostate cancer overall, taking into account the new tests and diagnostics that are becoming available. Until there is a better widespread test for this potentially devastating disease, the USPSTF  – by disparaging the test – is doing a great disservice to the men worldwide who may benefit from the PSA test.” – statement attributed to AUA President Sushil S. Lacy, M.D.

Dr. Singh agrees that not all prostate cancers require active treatment. “Before deciding on a treatment plan with a patient, we look at the big picture,” states Dr. Singh. “We look at how aggressive the cancer is, how much of the prostate is affected by the cancer, and the patient’s life expectancy. Then we can determine whether treatment of active surveillance is recommended for that individual patient.”

Erlanger will offer FREE PSA screenings Thursday, October 27, from 8 a.m. – 12 noon. For more information and to register, call (423) 778-LINK (5465).

Academic Urologists at Erlanger, located in Erlanger’s Medical Mall and Erlanger’s East Campus, provides the region’s most comprehensive medical and surgical treatments for all urological conditions. As a regional leader, Academic Urologists provides cutting edge treatments including complex pelvic floor dysfunction, and modern minimally invasive treatments for urological cancers including robotic kidney-sparing cancer surgery and urinary bladder surgery.

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