PSA Screening Guidelines Offer Discussion and Learning Opportunities

October 27, 2011

Posted in DiversionsHealthcare Policy & The MediaKnowledge & MedicineScience & Research

Posted in DiversionsHealthcare Policy & The MediaKnowledge & MedicineScience & Research

One axiom is certain in medicine: there is always room for controversy. And that’s good, because it spurs further scholarly thought and research — both qualities can only help patients and providers in the long run. With the current discussion in the media regarding the utilization of the PSA in determining the course of action prostate cancer screening, so many fundamental issues surrounding patient informed consent, unnecessary treatments, and the potential harms from treatments — can serve as valuable teaching points for patients and current and future physicians alike. The discussion — highlighted in the current NEJM — really brings this point home.

Watchful waiting and active surveillance may help prevent the conversion of overdiagnosis to overtreatment, mitigating the harms of screening that are so accurately portrayed by the task force. … we primary care clinicians must ensure there is no more routine, indiscriminate PSA screening — and no washing our hands of responsibility once the patient is referred to a specialist for prostate-cancer treatment. We owe it to our patients to provide them with the kind of guidance about this screening test that they need and deserve…

LINK | USPSTF guidelines on PSA screening here

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