New prostate cancer screening finding met with skepticism by loc - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

New prostate cancer screening finding met with skepticism by local doctor

By Lauren Callahan

(KLTV) - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force will release a new recommendation next week that says healthy men should no longer receive a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test. A PSA test is a blood test that serves to screen for prostate cancer.

Two years ago, this same group recommended women in their forties should not have annual mammograms, a decision that was met with a great deal of controversy.

According to Dr. Jim McAndrew, a Tyler urologist, a man should know his PSA value because it can save his life.

"Personally, I think a man should know their PSA value. It's a number. If you know it, you can make decisions about your health care," Dr. McAndrew said.

A PSA test tells a man what that number is. The blood test does not determine whether a man has prostate cancer, but it can determine whether he should have further testing for prostate cancer.  

Currently, men over 50 are encouraged to have a PSA test once a year.

The concern of the Preventive Services' Task Force is not the blood test, but the tests and treatments that come after the PSA test, which may cause pain, impotence, and incontinence for no reason.

"If you have the test, it may lead to other tests. And if those tests find cancer, treatment may be recommended. But those are all decisions that the patient with the help of their physician get to make. If they don't have the test, they don't even get to make those decisions," said Dr. McAndrew.

An annual PSA test helped detect John Fabac's prostate cancer 10 years ago.    

"I had no symptom. It was just when that PSA had a pretty significant jump we knew it was time to do something," he said.

According to Dr. McAndrew, a PSA test is key in detecting prostate cancer early … and the earlier prostate cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.    

"If a man has a PSA every year and all of a sudden it starts to rise, that's a signal that something may be going on. But if you don't get it every year, you may never know that your PSA is starting to go up, even if it's in the normal range," he said.

Dr. McAndrew still recommends men over the age of 50 to have an annual PSA test and prostate exam. He recommends men with a family history of prostate cancer and African-American men to start annual testing between the ages of 40 and 45 because they are at higher risk to develop cancers.

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