Increases in Advanced Prostate Cancer
New cases of advanced prostate cancer have soared 72% over the past decade. Men aged 55 to 69 had the biggest increase over the last ten years; a 92 percent jump. This rise should not be ignored because men in this age group have a lot to gain from screening and early treatment. “The increase could be because the disease is becoming more aggressive, or it could be because there is less screening being done, but we don’t know why,” said lead researcher Dr. Edward Schaeffer, chair of urology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Increases in advanced prostate cancer overlap with a 2012 recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that said men should not be screened for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland and is often elevated in men with prostate cancer. Many doctors believe that recommendation was severely flawed based on the data available at the time, and has been harmful for some patients. Instead of making a decision to discourage over treatment of cases of non-aggressive prostate cancer, especially in very elderly and debilitated patients, the USPSTF went too far. Unfortunately, there weren’t any urologists are on the USPSTF committee that made these recommendations. Although some legislative relief is on the way, even more changes are needed. Representative Marsha Blackburn of TN is very involved in this.
The changes occurring now are initiated by urologists with respect to new decision-making tools and parameters for deciding whom to biopsy, which patients and cancers need treatments, and the most efficient ways of diagnosis and treatment.
Whether you are seeing your urologist or you primary care physician…ask about PSA and make informed decisions. Dr. Newman of Las Vegas Urology is concerned that patients receive the proper care and treatment. Early detection so that prostate cancer doesn’t become advanced prostate cancer is very important.