New Tools Will Aid Doctor-Patient Discussions on Prostate Cancer, Treatment Options

August 22, 2012 03:30 pm News Staff

In light of recently updated recommendations for prostate cancer screening from the AAFP and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), has updated its patient education resources( on prostate cancer and added a newly developed handout covering the pros and cons of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening( to detect the disease.

[ health information for the whole family]

The new resources are a response to AAFP member requests for such resources after the Academy and the USPSTF in May recommended against performing PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in asymptomatic men. The recommendation was in response to evidence that indicated the harms of the test outweigh its benefits.

The D recommendation(, which applies to asymptomatic men in the general U.S. population, regardless of age, does not include the use of the PSA test for surveillance after diagnosis or treatment of prostate cancer.

According to available data, 90 percent of U.S. men with PSA-detected prostate cancer are treated, and as many as five in 1,000 men who are treated surgically will die within one month of the surgery. In addition, the PSA test often produces false-positive results, which are associated with negative psychological effects and other adverse events.

In May, AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., told AAFP News Now that when it comes to testing or not, the decision remains between individual doctors and their patients, but it needs to be done using all the information available.

"Having that discussion, and knowing the test may do more harm than good, is important," Stream said.