USPSTF Issues Draft Recommendations on PSA Screening
On October 7, 2011, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new draft recommendations against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer, asserting that there is "moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits," and discouraged the use of the test by issuing it a Grade D rating.
The AUA's Position
The AUA strongly opposes this position, and feels that the Task Force is doing men a great disservice by disparaging what is now the only widely available test for prostate cancer, a potentially devastating disease. We hold true to our current position as supported by the AUA's Prostate-Specific Antigen Best Practice Statement that, when interpreted appropriately, the PSA test provides important information in the diagnosis, pre-treatment staging or risk assessment and monitoring of prostate cancer patients. But not all prostate cancers are life threatening. The decision to proceed to active treatment or use surveillance for a patient's prostate cancer is one that men should discuss in detail with their urologists.
The AUA's Response
Immediately following the release of the USPSTF recommendations, AUA President Sushil S. Lacy, MD, released a formal statement on behalf of the AUA. The AUA is also coordinating a sign-on letter for lawmakers to send collectively to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, urging her to reject the USPSTF recommendations. We are currently in the process of convening an expert Panel, which will prepare and submit formal comments to the USPSTF.
How You Can Get Involved
The specialty of urology is not represented in the USPSTF, as there is no urologist on the Task Force. As the specialists who diagnose and treat the majority of prostate cancers in the United States, we must make our opinions known. Here's how you can get involved:
In the News
News outlets around the country are reporting on this issue. Below are some highlights of these top stories: