AACU News & Notes

Groups Representing Urologists Comment on Prostate Cancer Screening Recommendation

posted: May 8, 2017

On May 8, 2017 more than two dozen professional organizations representing specialty physicians joined the AACU in signing a joint letter commenting on the draft U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) Recommendation Statement on Screening for Prostate Cancer.

The members of these groups "care for hundreds of thousands of prostate cancer patients each year," according to the correspondence, "with a variety of disease management strategies."

The letter expresses agreement with the individualized, patient-centric approach of the draft recommendation for men ages 55 to 69 years. What's more, the organizations acknowledge progress in the draft clinical considerations, which specifically address men at increased risk of death from prostate cancer due to race or family history.

With the expectation of life for men age 70 now reaching an additional 14.4 years and the age 85-and-over population projected to increase 351% between 2010 and 2050, the collection of specialist physicians led by the AACU State Society Network raise concern with the proposed recommendation against screening all men age 70 years and older. "[S]elect men age 70 years and older may benefit from prostate cancer screening," the correspondence continues.

Advising against tying the potential harms of prostate cancer treatment with the widely used test, the two-dozen independent groups assert, "Early detection of prostate cancer made possible by the PSA test affords men the opportunity to consider many disease management options, including active surveillance for slow-growth cancer."

The joint letter concludes by encouraging physicians to speak freely to their patients ages 55 to 69 years about PSA-based screening for prostate cancer (an activity endorsed by the draft recommendation statement) and requesting that the Task Force reconsider its blanket recommendation against screening for men age 70 years and older. 

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