New PSA Recommendations from U.S. Preventive Services Task Force are a Disservice to Men
“D” Grading ignores benefits of screening in men known to be at high risk
Washington, DC, May 21, 2012– The Prostate Cancer Roundtable expressed deep disappointment today as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its final recommendation statement against the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing in the detection of prostate cancer.
“A “D” grade from the USPSTF will discourage many healthcare providers from using PSA testing at all; will justify non-coverage of PSA testing by many payers; and will also discourage men and their doctors from even beginning conversations about individual risk or the need for the test,” explained Scott Williams, Vice President of Men’s Health Network.
This decision has been taken despite authoritative research by Andrew Vickers, Hans Lilja, and others, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and elsewhere, that shows that even a single PSA test administered between the ages of 44 to 50 can project risk for the future diagnosis of prostate cancer.1-3
Research by the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Modeling Network has also shown that as much as 70 percent of the drop in age-adjusted prostate cancer mortality since 1975 can be attributed to PSA screening.4
“The USPSTF continues to ignore the benefits of screening for men known to be at high risk, including African American men, men with a family history, veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and men with an above-average baseline PSA in their 40s” stated Thomas Farrington, President of the Prostate Health Education Network.
Currently Medicare and Medicaid and most insurance companies continue to cover PSA tests. And in 37 U.S. states there are mandates in place that require insurance companies to pay for the test. However, the “D” grade will likely lead many health insurance companies to stop paying for the test, thus cutting off access to many men.
“Men should still be encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers about whether PSA testing is right for them. PSA testing can help predict future diagnosis of prostate cancer and can also help men who have been diagnosed determine which treatment path, if any, might be right for them,” stated Prostate Conditions Educational Council President Wendy Poage.
References: 1. Lilja H, Ulmert D, Bjork T, J Clin Oncol. 2007; 25 : 431- 436. 2. Lilja H, Cronin AM, Dahlin A, et al. Cancer. 2011; 117: 1210-1219. 3. Orsted DD, Nordestgaard BG, Jensen GB, et al. Eur Urol. 2012; 61: 865-874. 4. Etzioni R, Tsodikov A, Mariotto A, et al. Cancer Causes Control. 2008; 19: 175-181.
The above statement has been issued on behalf of and endorsed by the following Prostate Cancer Roundtable’s member organizations.
- Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure
- Malecare Prostate Cancer Support
- Men’s Health Network
- National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions
- Prostate Cancer Foundation
- Prostate Cancer International
- Prostate Conditions Education Council
- Prostate Health Education Network
- The Prostate Net
- Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network
- Women Against Prostate Cancer
- ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer