Why is Prostate Cancer Screening So Important?
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 25,000 Coloradans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2018, and 3,190 of those will be men with prostate cancer.
While these statistics can be scary, the survival rates for prostate cancer found in the local and regional stages can be nearly 100% (American Cancer Society). There are often no early signs or symptoms of prostate cancer. By the time symptoms are present, the cancer has often metastasized and treatment options, as well as positive outcomes, are more limited. Not all prostate cancer diagnoses are life threatening and not all prostate cancer diagnosis require treatment.
The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test has served as an important tool to help men assess their risk for prostate cancer and then determine the appropriate next steps with their physician. The physicians at The Urology Center of Colorado support the recommendations of the American Urological Association (AUA) and the final recommendations by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force that are in alignment with the AUA. These recommendations generally include consideration for screening:
- men ages 55 to 69
- African American men
- men with a family history of prostate cancer who are at increased risk
Additional consideration for PSA testing may include the use of PSA for men who have voiding difficulties or symptoms that may be associated with prostate cancer.
The largest study on prostate cancer screening, the European Randomized Study for the Screening of Prostate Cancer, published its updated findings in the March 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. This study demonstrated a 21 percent survival advantage to PSA screening for all patients and for those with the longest follow-up (over 10 years) this increased to 38 percent. This is consistent with experience in the U.S., where death rates from prostate cancer per 100,000 men have declined by nearly 40 percent over the last two decades.
This graph outlines the decline in U.S. prostate cancer-related deaths from 1999 to 2015; since the onset of regular PSA screening. (https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/DataViz.html).
Moving forward, the PSA test will remain a tool for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. TUCC encourages all men to have an informed decision-making discussion with their primary care physician or urologist about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening. Click here for an infographic from the AUA>>
Dr. Montoya, President of The Urology Center of Colorado, recommends this article for some quick and easy to understand facts about prostate cancer: 10 Prostate Cancer Truths That May Surprise You>> (rd.com)
If you have any questions about whether or not you should be screened for prostate cancer, a TUCC urologist would be happy to speak with you.