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Author Topic: AP - Millions Seen Wasted on Prostate Tests  (Read 1168 times)

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AP - Millions Seen Wasted on Prostate Tests
« on: Dec 07, 2003, 11:41:46 AM »
Millions Seen Wasted on Prostate Tests
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

December 3, 2003


Washington - Millions of dollars are spent annually to monitor prostate health in men over 75 even though research shows little benefit in screening such men for prostate cancer, a study says.

"There is no evidence that screening men of this age would be beneficial to them, so this may not be the best use of health care resources," said Dr. Siu-Long Yao, a genital-urinary oncologist at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, N.J. He is the senior author of the study appearing this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

 
"If you take all elderly men who die and do an autopsy, 30 to 70 percent will have prostate cancer, but they died of something else," Yao said. "Diagnosing the prostate cancer may lead to unnecessary complications in elderly patients who are more likely to die of something else, such as cardiovascular disease."

Yao said the study, based on data extracted from the National Health Interview Survey, showed that men over 75 are more likely to get a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test than a fecal occult test, a screening test that detects symptoms of colon cancer.

Studies have shown that patients who get regular fecal occult tests tend to live longer than those who don't, he said, but there is no such evidence for a PSA test.

However, Dr. Richard G. Middleton, chairman of urology at the University of Utah Medical School and a contributor to the prostate cancer guidelines for the American Urological Association, said the study was "too simplistic." He said a PSA would be useful for a man with a history of prostate problems.

"I object to the idea that it was somehow bad form to order a PSA on an elderly patient," he said.

http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-hspros033568723dec03,0,7540010.story?coll=ny-health-headlines


 

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