LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to screen for prostate cancer has remained controversial among some patients. Now a new study says more men could possibly develop advanced cases of cancer if doctors did away with the blood test.
PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate in which higher levesl can be an indicator of cancer.
“If we stop screening, and if we stop treating those cancers we feel are a threat to men, then what this study says is we’re going to three times the likelihood that men will develop metastatic prostate cancer,” Dr. Herbert Lepor of NYU’s Langone Medical Center.
The study was published in the Journal of Cancer and it comapared data from the 1980’s when there was no routine testing to recent yearrs of widespread testing. Researchers found PSA and early detection could help prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body in up to 17,000 men.
A federal task force recently recommended against routine PSA tests saying there is little to no benefit to them and that the screening leads to more tests and treatment that can be unnecessary and harmful.