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Urologist Advocates No Change In Prostate Guidelines

Date:  November 23rd, 2011

Contact/Phone:  Mary Muhlbradt
(701)857-5116, Fax: (701)857-5683

e-mail:   Mary Muhlbradt

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(MINOT, ND)-Trinity Health Urologist Ryan Hedgepeth, MD, has joined his colleagues across the country in taking exception to a federal panel's recommendation that healthy men forego PSA blood tests as a check for prostate cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said recently that PSA screening produces too many "false-positives," which can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer. 

In response, the American Urological Association (AUA) issued a statement saying it believes the Task Force's recommendation will do more harm than good.   Dr. Hedgepeth, who is fellowship trained in urologic oncology and robotic surgery, strongly agrees:

"It's true that not all prostate cancers require active treatment and not all prostate cancers are life threatening.  But it's a mistake to throw the baby out with the bath water," Dr. Hedgepeth states.  "Prostate cancer, when detected early, can be cured.  I fear the biggest potential losers as a result of this recommendation will be the patients, whose prostate cancers will go undetected."

Dr. Hedgepeth adds that the PSA test isn't perfect and should be combined with other screening methods such as a digital rectal exam.  But he emphasizes it does provide doctors and patients with valuable information if there is a PSA history, which is why it's important for men to obtain a baseline PSA at a younger age.

The AUA continues to support the use of the PSA test, calling it "a good predictor of the risk of prostate cancer and the extent of the cancer."  The group's clinical guidelines say it should be offered to men 40 years of age or older who wish to be screened. SPACE index.php