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Conventional Medicine Finally Admits PSA Screening For Prostate Cancer is a Bust

Written by Wellness Club on June 12, 2008 – 2:03 pm -

Many of Dr. Myatt’s patients have come to her seeking alternatives to the Conventional Medical treatments of “cut, burn, and poison” that are prescribed, often based on little more than an elevated PSA reading.

While Dr. Myatt recognizes the value of PSA she is less enthusiastic about the way it is used by Conventional Medicine – that is, as a “diagnostic indicator” which allows a harried, busy, and personal risk-conscious physician to minimize the need to think and maximize the opportunity to refer the patient for additional tests and treatment most of which have the potential to cause as much harm as they do good, and all of which can be very distressing to the patient.

A number of scholarly articles have recently called into question the value and necessity of widespread PSA screening.

One of Dr. Myatt’s patients had some questions about this, and here is what she replied to him his wife:

Hi J and M

This video (a couple of minutes long) just in on the medical airwaves today.
Conventional medicine finally admits that PSA screening for prostate cancer is a bust.
You might be VERY relieved to see this video…

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/574168

This refers to an editorial article and video available on the website Medscape.com – a resource that is directed toward informing and educating your conventional medical doctor.

Since this website requires registration and log-in and some of our readers may not be able to access this video for that reason we have included here a transcript of that video:

Screening for prostate cancer in men age 50 and older is common in clinical practice today, but it’s not based on adequate evidence that it improves health outcomes. That’s why the US Preventive Services Task Force, the leading independent panel of experts in prevention, has found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine screening for prostate cancer.

The benefits of screening for early prostate cancer are unknown. There are substantial harms associated with detection and treatment of prostate cancer, and the research fails to show a reduction in prostate cancer death and a net improvement in a patient’s well-being.[1]

Patients deserve to know when there’s insufficient evidence that a preventive screening will do more good than harm. Do not screen for prostate cancer without first discussing with patients the potential — but uncertain — benefits and possible harms. We need to inform patients about the gaps in the evidence. Then we need to help them assess their personal risks and other individual considerations and preferences that might influence their decisions.[2]

Be prepared to answer questions. Patients are likely to want to know what the potential harms of screening, detection, and treatment of prostate cancer might be. These potential harms include fairly frequent false-positive results from PSA screening tests that might lead to unnecessary anxiety and unnecessary biopsies. All treatments for prostate cancer carry risks of harm.[3]

Remember this is your patient’s decision, too. And helping patients make decisions that are appropriate for them as individuals is one way to provide high-quality care, in the absence of definitive evidence.[4]

That is my opinion. I’m Dr. Michael LeFevre of the US Preventive Services Task Force.

References

1. Screening for Prostate Cancer: What’s New From the USPSTF? AHRQ Publication No. APPIP03-0003. Rockville, Md: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; December 2002. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/prostatescr/prostatwh.htm Accessed May 7, 2008.
2. Sheridan SL, Harris RP, Woolf SH; Shared Decision-Making Workgroup of the US Preventive Services Task Force. Shared decision making about screening and chemoprevention. a suggested approach from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Am J Prev Med. 2004;26:56-66.
3. Sanda MG, Dunn RL, Michalski J, et al. Quality of life and satisfaction with outcome among prostate-cancer survivors. N Engl J Med. 2008;358:1250-1261.
4. US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Prostate Cancer: Recommendations and Rationale. Rockville, Md: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; December 2002. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/prostatescr/prostaterr.htm Accessed May 7, 2008.

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