As expected and as had been predicted in previous blogs here, the US Services Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) reversed their misguided prostate cancer screening recommendations and now recommend the screening in informed and interested patients between the ages of 55 and 69. They also recommend it in a similar way to high-risk patients such as African Americans and patients with a significant family history. This sad episode is a superb example of the potential disastrous consequences of government bureaucrats making decisions that should be made between patients and their doctors. Fortunately, there are efforts underway to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) legislation that has been part of Obamacare and would be yet another opportunity for unelected bureaucrats to make medical decisions and insinuate themselves between patient and doctor.
While the new USPSTF policy is an improvement it still does not recommend what I would consider adequate flexibility to doctors and patients. In particular, with improving health and longevity there are certainly some patients over the age of 70 who would have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years or longer and such patients should not be deprived or even discouraged from having their PSA checked if they so desire. A group of urologic organizations agree with me as detailed in their letter.
The evolution in prostate cancer screening recommendations, detection, and treatment continues and I will be monitoring new information, studies, treatments and choices carefully and implementing new options as warranted. I am proud that the American Urological Association was able to mobilize the appropriate grassroots urologic support to help guide the USPSTF in their modifications. I also contributed directly by posting my thoughts in the USPSTF comments section before their modifications were finalized. As a Las Vegas Urologist I am helping keep the urologic care in Las Vegas at the forefront. If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss potential prostate cancer issues, please call the office at (702) 948.1199.