New Studies Show Prostate Cancer Testing Recommendation Leaves Men Vulnerable to Advanced Disease

Nov 18, 2015, 16:03 ET from ZERO - The End of Prostate Cancer

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to two recent studies published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, fewer men are being tested for prostate cancer, and fewer early-stage cases are being detected. The results from these studies make it clear that there is a direct link between the United States Preventive Services Task Force's recommendation against the use of the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test in 2012 and the rate of screening and detection.

"With one man dying every 19 minutes from prostate cancer, it's imperative that men who are at risk be tested and made aware of their options," said ZERO CEO Jamie Bearse. "While overtreatment can lead to potentially harmful side effects, there are men being diagnosed with advanced disease every day who wish they had been able to catch their cancer earlier. It is important that men be given options when it comes to their health. The results of this research are concerning and show the immediate need to revise the Task Force's recommendation."

The newly published results have fueled further debate about the Task Force's controversial recommendation, as the authors of one of the studies noted that they couldn't yet tell if the changes in screening and detection would affect the death rate from the disease. While prostate cancer is often times slow growing and many men will die with it rather than from it, the recommendation does not take all men and their individual cancer cases into consideration, especially those with aggressive prostate cancer. At ZERO, we believe that men should have all information and all options available to them to best equip themselves to fight prostate cancer.

"As a current patient battling metastatic prostate cancer, I am a strong advocate for early testing for the disease," said Col. Paul Taylor, a ZERO Board Member who was diagnosed in 2012 at age 41 with stage IV prostate cancer. "It is important that men discuss their risk with their doctor in order to decide on testing. The choice should be a personal one; early detection is vital for the one in seven men who will be diagnosed with the disease. If I've learned anything in my fight with prostate cancer, it is that I want to arm myself with the most information possible."

The release of these studies is especially timely as the Task Force is now seeking comments on its plan to reconsider PSA test recommendations. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) citing the Task Force's 2012 guidance recently issued a proposal to penalize physicians for ordering PSA tests. ZERO will be submitting comments to both agencies urging them to consult with physician specialists before making recommendations related to the PSA test and encouraging them to empower patients with correct information about their status and treatment options rather than disallow potentially lifesaving diagnoses from men and their families.

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