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Who Needs Prostate Screening?
Some cancers are trickier than others. Somewhere towards the top of the list is prostate cancer. That’s because catching prostate cancer involves risky tests that can leave men impotent and/or incontinent. Some doctors even go so far as to say that prostate cancer screening tests do more harm than good. And in some cases, the United States Preventative Services Task Force agrees. The Task Force recently revised its guidelines to recommend that men 75 and older opt out of prostate cancer screening tests if they aren’t a high-risk candidate. For men younger than 75, the Task Force neither recommends nor discourages prostate cancer preventative tests.
Yet not all health agencies share the Task Force’s opinion. The American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association recommend all men start prostate cancer screening tests at age 50. Yet the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends men only engage in prostate cancer preventative tests if they feel they are high-risk. Risk factors for prostate cancer include a family history of the disease, age, race, weight and overall health.
When/if you are faced with the decision on whether or not to get prostate cancer preventative tests, listen to your gut and communicate with your doctor as much as possible. Get a second or even third opinion on the matter. If you’re in good health overall with no family history of prostate cancer, why put yourself through the torture? On the other hand, maybe you’re the picture of perfect health at the age of 76, but you have family who died of prostate cancer, wouldn’t you want to know if you had the condition? What do you think about the new recommendations? [U.S. News & World Report]