U.S. panel says no to prostate tests

Oct. 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Healthy men should no longer get a PSA blood test for prostate cancer because the testing, overall, does not save lives, a U.S. government panel says.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force said PSA screens often lead to more tests and treatments that needlessly cause pain and can result in impotence and incontinence, The New York Times reported Friday.

"Unfortunately, the evidence now shows that this test does not save men's lives," said Dr. Virginia Moyer at Baylor College of Medicine, the chairwoman of the task force. "This test cannot tell the difference between cancers that will and will not affect a man during his natural lifetime. We need to find one that does."

Advocates for those with prostate cancer said they would oppose the recommendation.

"We're disappointed," said Thomas Kirk of Us TOO, the nation's largest advocacy group for prostate cancer survivors. "The bottom line is that this is the best test we have, and the answer can't be, 'Don't get tested.'"

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