Prostate testing questioned

An American task force is recommending men do not get screened for prostate cancer and that has health officials in Calgary concerned.
The announcement was made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force group on Friday.
Dr. Bryan Donnelly, Chairman of the Prostate Cancer Centre in Calgary is concerned that people may become confused by the task force's comments.
He says that patients may become confused about the difference between screening someone suspected of prostate cancer and treating them once they are diagnosed with the disease.
Dr. Donnelly and some of his colleagues have written a paper that will be released in the fall, in the Journal of the Canadian Urological Association that analyses the recent PSA screening studies. Their findings have concluded that PSA screening does save lives.
"A European study clearly showed that PSA testing allows us to diagnose prostate cancer very early, when it is confined in the gland and can be treated," said Dr. Donnelly. "To disregard these results is irresponsible."
Many men are reluctant to have their health checked and Dr. Donnelly is worried that this recent announcement will only feed into that excuse.
Advanced prostate is the third most common cause of death in North America and is incurable.
"The PSA test is not perfect, but it's the best we've got. When I started in neurology thirty-six years ago, 90 per cent of the men I saw had advanced prostate cancer. Today 90 per cent have treatable cancer. The one and only difference is PSA blood testing," said Dr. Donnelly.
Over 10,000 men and their families visit the Prostate Cancer Centre at the Rockyview General Hospital every year.
Officials with the Canadian Cancer Society say a digital exam is the most common way to check for prostate cancer. They add that the digital exam combined with the PSA test is better than using either alone.

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