|With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men. The reported incidence of prostate cancer increased dramatically in the late 1980s as use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test became common.1 Amid some controversy, use of the PSA test has declined since May 2012 when the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine PSA screening.2 Presented here are a few facts about this prevalent condition and the current debate.|
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015 there will be 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer and 27,540 deaths attributed to the disease.3 The cost of treatment for prostate cancer was estimated to be about $13 billion in 2014.1
Two studies presented at the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association addressed prostate cancer and PSA testing.
- Researchers compared PSA screening at clinics affiliated with the Oregon Health & Science University Hospital before and after the USPSTF recommendation. PSA screening decreased from 19.3% to 8.2% among men aged 50 to 70 years, who are those “most likely to benefit from screening.”4
- Researchers surveyed 73 primary care physicians at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester and found that 97% were familiar with the USPSTF recommendations. Based on their understanding of these recommendations, the majority agreed that routine use of PSA screening might be more harmful than beneficial to patients; 50% continued to offer PSA screening to men older than 70 years; and more than a third now perform fewer digital rectal exams.4
Having evolved from the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, ZERO–The End of Prostate Cancer is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds, increasing awareness, and ending prostate cancer. This year, ZERO will host about 40 run/walk events in the United States, and more than 20,000 people will participate, including patients, family, friends, and medical professionals. According to ZERO, funds raised are distributed as follows: 25%, advocacy and government relations; 20%, research; 15%, early detection; and 40%, awareness and education.5