Posted: 8:19 p.m. Monday, June 17, 2013
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The PROS for PSA SCREENING
— PSA screening may help you detect prostate cancer early.
— Cancer is easier to treat and is more likely to be cured if it’s diagnosed in the early stages of the disease.
— PSA testing can be done with a simple, widely available blood test.
— For some men, knowing is better than not knowing.
— Having the test can provide you with a certain amount of reassurance — either that you probably don’t have prostate cancer or that you do have it and can now have it treated.
— The number of deaths from prostate cancer has gone down since PSA testing became available.
The CONS OF PSA SCREENING
— Some prostate cancers are slow-growing and never spread beyond the prostate gland.
— Not all prostate cancers need treatment. Treatment for prostate cancer may have risks and side effects, including urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction or bowel dysfunction.
— PSA tests aren’t foolproof. It’s possible for your PSA levels to be elevated when cancer isn’t present, and to not be elevated when cancer is present.
— A diagnosis of prostate cancer can provoke anxiety and confusion. Concern that the cancer may not be life-threatening can make decision-making complicated.
— It’s not yet clear whether the decrease in deaths from prostate cancer is due to early detection and treatment based on PSA testing or due to other factors.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic.
BY THE NUMBERS
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the U.S. for 2013 are:
•About 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed
•About 29,720 men will die of prostate cancer
•Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.5 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
•About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
•Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. Nearly two thirds are diagnosed in men age 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 67.