Prostate Cancer Screening for Men

From Science Sounds:
The US Preventative Services Task Force concluded last week that men over 75 years old should no longer be screened for prostate cancer. Furthermore, they conclude that “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening in men younger than age 75 years.”

As I have written before, while we in the US like to get as much care as possible, there are situations when more care isn’t necessarily better, and that in many cases, patient factors should help decide the course of treatment. Prostate cancer screening is a prime example of a situation in which screening can lead to a whole host of uncomfortable and potentially life altering consequences (e.g. invasive procedures, impotence), and may or may not lead to a longer life.

While there are certainly many situations in which the best treatments are clear and effective, in cases where the relationship between cause and effect, and treatment and health, are murkier, more may not be better, and in fact may be worse.