Sinclair Cares: PSA Screening
After years of recommending against a test to screen for prostate cancer, a government panel is now reconsidering the impact it may have.
A year ago, Michael Pastula felt perfectly healthy, until a blood test revealed shocking news, that could cost him his life. “You’ll never know unless you’re looking for it and you need to look for it,” he said.
The prostate-specific antigen or PSA test is a simple blood draw that shows the presence of prostate cancer but, eight years ago, a government task force deemed it as leading to unnecessary treatment.
Now, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force say men 55 to 69 years old should consult with their doctors about PSA screening.
They still warn, screening could lead to potential misdiagnosis and treatment which could cause impotence and urinary incontinence.
But the panel also says new evidence supports the benefits of screening, including: reducing the chance of dying from prostate cancer and catching it before cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
Dr. Stephen Eulau, Radiation Oncologist, is happy to see the more open minded approach, "It's really, really important that the patient and the doctor have a conversation in a collaborative way so they can form a partnership in making this decision. It's very important to recognize that we're not just looking at a blood test. we're looking at a patient."
Michael's cancer was aggressive, spreading to his lymph nodes and bladder. "If you don't have something like a PSA test to give you at least an indication that something's going on, then people are going to die from this,” he said.
Michael had surgery and is now undergoing radiation.