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Doctor's In: As a Middle-Aged Man, Should I Get the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) Test?

In spite of a recent report suggesting the end of routine PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) tests, I still recommend this potentially life-saving test.

The PSA test has come under fire recently due to a report from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).  They have suggested stopping routine testing.  The American Urological Association feels strongly in the value of the PSA test recommended between the ages of 40 -75 and suggest the test is a proven lifesaver in early detection of prostate cancer.

As I have spent my career in public health, I certainly respect the guidelines coming forth as a result of USPSTF studies.  That being said, I fully recommend continuing the PSA screening test which is a highly effective tool in determining the presence of prostate cancer.

Prior to the test physicians would regularly see patients with advanced prostate cancer often with metastasis.  Although, it is true that this can be a very slow growing cancer; unforunately, when it does spread it is deadly. Early detection and one of several alternatives to treatment can stop this cancer in its tracks before serious life threatening damage is done.

It is true that prostate surgery may be over utilized as a treatment and complications of prostate removal can be troublesome, the issue for me is not to stop the PSA test but to address treatment protocols which may need refining.  To stop the test would be akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water.

As I have had prostate surgery myself, I am very pleased with the result.  I would not have pursued a biopsy, which proved positive for cancer had it not been for the PSA test.

I cannot agree with the recommendation that the PSA should no longer be a routine test.  I would agree that what is done with high PSA scores would be a more prudent approach to addressing deadly prostate cancer.  If you are a man between the ages of 40 to 75 or have a large or solid prostate mass discovered on examination, have the test and follow your doctor's advice for follow-up.  It can be life-saving.

Submit questions to Dr. Yacht: mjyacht58@gmail.com  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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