Prostate-specific antigen screening, which aims to identify the early stages of cancer, remains controversial as heated debates offer both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the procedure.
A recent study notes that while prostate cancer screening based on the PSA test may reduce directly linked mortality rates in the next 10 years, it has no impact on the overall mortality rates.
The study also links the PSA procedure to complications caused by biopsies and cancer treatment. It estimated that out of every 1000 male patients that are tested for the disease at least one man would need to be hospitalized for sepsis, 3 would suffer from urinary incontinence and 25 will encounter erectile dysfunctions. Should the procedure be recommended by doctors?
The issue has been addressed by an editorial published I the United Kingdom. It notes that in the UK, more people die from prostate cancer in comparison to breast cancer, and that men will ask their general practitioners about the procedure. While some will have no issue in recommending the test, others will deny it vehemently, stating that it has no value.
The main reason for this is the fact that the current PSA test has a high rate of false positive and false negative results, and most of the cancers detected by the test are benign and they won’t cause any harm in the future.
If a patient does ask for such a test, the motivation needs to be analyzed, and the doctor must clearly present both the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure. Alternative testing methods such as multiparametric MRI can be used in order to reduce any potential risks.
The meta-study analyzed several previous studies in order to compile a comprehensive database about the impact and effect of the procedure. It was observed that most studies agree with the opinion that the test has little to no impact on mortality rates.
While the test should not be dismissed, proper counseling should be offered in order to determine the best choice for the patient.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.