Is Routine Testing for Prostate Cancer a Good Thing?

Is Routine Testing for Prostate Cancer a Good Thing?

Unfortunately, aside from skin cancer, it’s the most common form of cancer among men.

Having a healthy prostate is something all men wish for. On average, men are diagnosed with the disease at 66, and while there is a 10-year survival rate of 98% for those who develop local or regional prostate cancer, it’s different for others. For those whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body, that rate dips to 30%.

So, if you’re a middle-aged male, should you get yourself routinely tested then, as some suggest?

Common sense may make you say, ‘yes’, but here’s another point of view.

According to a panel of international experts quoted in The BMJ this September, routine testing for prostate cancer could do more harm than good.

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The group of physicians analyzed more than 700,000 men in clinical trials. It was found that current testing methods can cause healthy men with harmless tumors to be treated, when unnecessary.

Personally, (although I’m not male), I would rather have any tumor removed, cancerous or not, just to be safe. It does seem odd that doctors would be advising against removing or treating prostate growths. They undoubtedly know more about the issue than I do, however.

The panel did acknowledge that men with a family history of prostate cancer should be screened regularly for the disease. In addition, ethnicity also comes into play. African American men are up to twice as likely to die from prostate cancer, compared with non-Hispanic whites. That’s a huge difference, and one that warrants some extra care at the doctor’s office.

For more on this study, click here.

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