Fewer men are being screened, diagnosed, and treated for prostate cancer

Fewer men are being screened, diagnosed, and treated for prostate cancer

A new study reveals declines in prostate cancer screening and diagnoses in the United States in recent years, as well as decreases in the use of definitive treatments in men who have been diagnosed. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

There is considerable debate surrounding the value of prostate cancer screening with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, and the 2012 United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation against PSA testing lies at the center of this debate. This recommendation was made in part due to the potential harms — such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence — associated with the treatment of clinically insignificant prostate cancer with radical prostatectomy or radiation.

To examine the use of diagnostics and treatments for prostate cancer in the years surrounding the USPSTF recommendation, James Kearns, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and his colleagues analyzed MarketScan claims, which capture more than 30 million privately insured patients in the United States. The team looked specifically at information related to PSA testing, prostate biopsy, prostate cancer diagnosis, and definitive local treatment in men aged 40-64 years for the years 2008-2014. Men under age 65 years may benefit most from radiation or surgery for their prostate cancer because prostate cancer tends to cause problems for men many years after diagnosis.

In the analysis of approximately 6 million men with a full year of data, PSA testing, prostate biopsy, and prostate cancer detection declined significantly between 2009 and 2014, most notably after 2011. The prostate biopsy rate per 100 patients with a PSA test decreased over the study period from 1.95 to 1.52. Prostate cancer incidence per prostate biopsy increased over the study period from 0.36 to 0.39. Of new prostate cancer diagnoses, the proportion managed with definitive local treatment decreased from 69 percent to 54 percent. Both PSA testing and prostate cancer incidence decreased significantly after 2011.

“In addition to finding decreased prostate cancer screening, we found that fewer men were being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and even fewer men were being treated with surgery or radiation for their prostate cancer. This means that that they are likely choosing active surveillance for low risk prostate cancer,” said Dr. Kearns. “This is important because active surveillance has been shown to be safe in many men, and it avoids problems associated with prostate cancer treatment, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Part of the controversy surrounding prostate cancer screening was that men who didn’t need surgery or radiation for their prostate cancer were still undergoing those treatments. If those men are instead undergoing active surveillance of their low risk prostate cancer, then the harms of screening will be lower.”

In an accompanying editorial, Christopher Filson, MD, MS, of Emory University School of Medicine notes that additional research is needed to determine which men will gain the most value from screening and to identify and correct gaps in the delivery of prostate cancer care to minimize overtreatment while abrogating the incidence of metastatic prostate cancer in the future. “The key will be performing PSA screening — in addition to biopsies and prostate cancer treatment — more intelligently, not more frequently,” he writes.

Story Source: Read this article on ScienceDaily: “Fewer men are being screened, diagnosed, and treated for prostate cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2018. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180521092712.htm.


HIFU is an FDA approved precise and targeted therapy that reduces the risk of complications caused by surgery and radiation. HIFU may not be appropriate in every situation, but it is most effective for men who have early stage, localized prostate cancer that has not spread or metastasized outside the prostate.

Men treated with HIFU wake up and go home without pain or bleeding.  They are able to travel the same day, drive the next day, and resume normal activities within a few days.  Those with office based jobs can go back to work the next day.  A catheter is left in for 5 days to 3 weeks, depending on how much of the gland is treated and/or the degree of swelling.

Focal Therapy is not associated with incontinence, and erectile dysfunction is just under 10%.  Sparing of the urethra avoids scar tissue formation which, when present, may diminish the urinary stream.  The eventual need for additional therapy is now under 10%. Learn more … 

2018-05-22T15:07:32+00:00 May 22nd, 2018|
%d bloggers like this: