There has long been debate about the efficacy or indeed the requirement of prostate cancer testing and now the American Cancer Society has issued fresh screening recommendations about screening for prostate cancer.
Durango Brooks, the society’s director of prostate and colorectal cancers called for informed decision making among doctors as well as patients as regards prostate cancer screening.
Attention was called in particular to those community events that took place during certain periods such as cancer awareness month etc, and which typically offer people free and quick screening. Several hospitals offer such free services to large proportions of the male population.
This recommendation comes in wake of other cautionary recommendations issued in respect of pap smears and mammograms to detect cervical and breast cancer respectively. It is no longer as simple as get the test done and then the doctors deal with the rest. There are several reasons why testing for prostate cancer is not only superfluous, but could be actually counterproductive:
- Most prostate cancers are slow growing enough that most men die with prostate cancer rather than because of it.
- Surgical treatment may render men impotent or incontinent.
- Those that take hormone therapy for this cancer are exposed to greater risk of diabetes and heart problems.