NEW YORK, July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Life expectancy is the new metric for PSA testing and prostate cancer, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. David Samadi, SMART robotic prostate cancer surgeon, explains how newly released ASCO guidelines put into writing what leading prostate cancer treatment experts have been espousing for years.
The ASCO advises men with a life expectancy of less than ten years to forgo routine PSA screening, suggesting the potential side effects of treating prostate cancer may outweigh the benefits. For men with a life expectancy of ten years or more they support a man's right to choose, encouraging a thorough discussion of the benefits and risks of testing.
"It's personalized medicine, plain and simple," says Dr. Samadi. "Whether ten years is the magic number for PSA screening depends on the patient, but the recommendation that men have a choice gets us back on track."
The PSA debate came to a head in 2012 fueled primarily by concerns over whether a man should expose himself to the potential side effects of prostate cancer treatment, chief among them problems with urinary control and sexual potency.
Dr. Samadi breaks down the crux of the issue. "Is it worth it? That's what they're asking. But that's a choice each man must make for himself. As experts, our role is to provide an accurate picture of their health and an education about the pros and cons of prostate cancer testing and treatment."
Going forward, it is unlikely that a man's general physician will automatically lump the PSA blood test in with their annual cholesterol and blood pressure screenings. The ASCO's step-by-step patient guide is another tool in what Dr. Samadi refers to as "personalization and collaboration" regarding the PSA decision.
"Choosing the PSA test means having a thorough understanding of the options your outcome will present. It's a good idea for men to determine what actions they might take should their results signal the possibility of prostate cancer," Dr. Samadi advises, "The counsel of an experienced prostate cancer expert should be central to the PSA decision."
Beyond life expectancy, Dr. Samadi knows firsthand that quality of life is a stronger factor for many. "I have performed successful robotic prostatectomy surgery on many patients in their late 70's. While some experts might suggest they had a medical life expectancy of less than ten years, these men chose peace of mind," he says, "For most patients, my robotic SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) surgery can deliver that and quality of life at any age."
Dr. Samadi and a great number of his colleagues are encouraged by the ASCO's expression of support for the PSA test and a man's right to choose. As prostate cancer screening tools improve, men will have even clearer results on which to base their prostate cancer treatment decisions.