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PSA, mammograms: To test or not to test?

  • Broadcast in Health
Powerful Patient

Powerful Patient


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When doctors disagree with each other about what to do for our care, we get nervous and confused.  When government or professional agencies disagree in the press, we get even more confused.  Recently there have been conflicting “recommendations” about mammograms and PSA tests for breast and prostate cancer.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force published its findings Oct. 7, 2011, in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The task force concluded that PSA screening saves few lives or none, while the harms are real and significant.

But deaths due to prostate cancer have declined in recent years, a trend many urologists credit largely to PSA screening and to early detection of life-threatening tumors.

The American Urological Association issued a statement disagreeing with the task force. “When interpreted appropriately, the PSA test provides important information in the diagnosis, pre-treatment staging or risk assessment and monitoring of prostate cancer patients,” according to the statement.

Arnold Melman, M.D., is a member of the Department of Urology of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center and in private practice in New York City.  He is the author of the recently released published book “After Prostate Cancer: A What-Comes-Next Guide to a Safe and Informed Recovery.” Dr. Melman talks with Joyce about the pros and cons of the PSA test.