TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – LUGPA, representing more than 1,800 urologists,today discredited recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to stop prostate cancer testing.
The USPSTF’s final recommendation, released today, instructs physicians to discourage asymptomatic men from having the PSA test. This comes despite overwhelming opposition from urologists, prostate cancer patients, and patient advocacy groups, all who have confirmed the importance of these life-saving measures.
“We are appalled at the USPSTF’s recommendation that healthy men should no longer receive prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests as part of routine cancer screening,” said Dr. Deepak A. Kapoor, President of LUGPA and Chairman and CEO of Integrated Medical Professionals, PLLC. Kapoor added, “Failing to detect cancer early will create a public health catastrophe in 5-10 years.”
The largest study on screening, the European Randomized Study for the Screening of Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) published its updated findings in the March issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. This demonstrated a 21 percent survival advantage to PSA screening for all patients, and furthermore, for those with the longest follow-up (over 10 years) this increased to 38 percent. This is consistent with experience in the United States, where death rates from prostate cancer have declined by nearly 40 percent over the last two decades, although the incidence of the disease has been relatively stable.
Dr. Kapoor states, “USPSTF clearly ‘cherry-picked’ data to support what can only be viewed as a preconceived bias against screening. The task force did not include any physician who treats prostate cancer, and ignored credible studies and epidemiological data demonstrating a significant survival advantage to early detection…we are not detecting more cancer; we are detecting cancer earlier and saving lives.”
The USPSTF’s downgrade of prostate cancer screening to a “D” recommendation at this time is irresponsible and inexplicable. It even would deny screening to those at the greatest risk for prostate cancer—African-Americans and those with a family history of prostate cancer. These patients urgently need to be educated about their risks of developing cancer, and the role that screening could play in early diagnosis and treatment.
“The recommendation not only grossly misrepresents the current literature about screening, but makes a blanket statement about what’s right for allmen,” said Kapoor. “Every man has a right to make his own decision about screening after discussion with his own doctor. We cannot allow an unaccountable government entity to deny patients access to tests that saves the lives of thousands of Americans every year.”
LUGPA joins the American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) in support of PSA screening for well-informed men who wish to pursue early diagnosis for a disease that is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. The USPSTF’srecommendations risk undoing 20 years of progress in patient education and puts the lives of tens of thousands of men at risk. All concerned citizens are encouraged to contact government representatives to demand the government not restrict access to this life-saving testing as a result of misguided recommendations.