MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Fewer than one-third of men are getting screened for prostate cancer. Now a national task force that recommended against the PSA test is making a major shift.
Larry Blumberg’s life changed when his doctor diagnosed prostate cancer last year.
“It was very upsetting, but he also said we are in time. I’m not sure if we could have been in time if we had done this a year or two from now,” Blumberg said.
The 69-year-old’s cancer was detected after he opted to have a PSA blood test, even though he had no symptoms and the screening was not recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Now, based on the latest research, the group says men 55 to 69 should have a conversation with their doctor and make a decision for themselves.
“Men can reduce their chance of dying of prostate cancer and reduce their chance of having cancer that spreads throughout their body. These are really important benefits but they occur in a small number of men,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
The concern has been that PSA testing results in over treating cancers, which can lead to serious issues like impotence and incontinence.
Dr. Herbert Lepor says advances in detection and closely monitoring low risk cancers are helping men avoid drastic treatment.
“We have the tools today so we can decrease men who will undergo unnecessary biopsy, better tools to assess aggressiveness and more innovative therapies.
Blumberg needed surgery to remove his prostate. He’s had some side effects, but says they are getting better.
“The side effects are nothing compared to the fact that I’m going to live a long life. Enjoy my kids and my grandchildren,” Blumberg said.
Blumberg is cancer free and his PSA is undetectable.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force continues to recommend against prostate cancer screening for men 70 and older.
Right now these guidelines are a draft and final recommendations could be decided in the coming months.