Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov
Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health - a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM - that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
Men ages 55-69 are now encouraged to discuss screening for prostate cancer with their physician (in a change of recommendations) by an important, independent, clinical guidelines organization, which was discussed in a viewpoint recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's new recommendations encourage doctor-patient discussion and shared decision making about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening among men ages 55-69. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend prostate cancer screening for men after age 70, which is consistent with its prior suggestions in 2012. The recommendations are available on the current home page of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's website, which can be found by typing 'U.S. Preventive Services Task Force' in any web browser.
The recommended subtle shift for men ages 55-69 to consider screening partially is based on evidence from a recent European clinical trial, which suggests testing may prevent a small number of prostate cancers from spreading as well as save a few lives over time.
Compared to previous evidence that suggested clinical harms outweighed screening's benefits, the Task Force suggests recent evidence tilts the balance slightly for men ages 55-69.
The viewpoint adds the Task Force's reconsideration of prostate cancer guidelines also was influenced by new evidence that the active surveillance of prostate cancer in men (with low levels of prostate cancer) may prevent deaths as effectively as proactive surgery or radiation.
The viewpoint summarizes the Task Force's recommendations (and we quote): 'although the (Task Force) concluded that there may be a small net benefit to screening in men ages 55 to 69 years, the balance of benefits and harms in men remains close, and therefore the decision to initiate screening should be an individual one' (end of quote).
The viewpoint continues (and we quote): "The body of evidence reviewed underscores how closely balanced the benefits and harms of screening are and how the balance may shift from 'net benefit' to 'net harm'...." (end of quote).
Overall, the viewpoint suggests the revised recommendations are important because the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force makes independent recommendations about primary medical care. The Task Force's recommendations gained significance after the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2014 because the Task Force's recommendations now set standards honored by Medicare and Medicaid, the two core sources of public health insurance in the U.S.
While autonomous in its judgments, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is convened and supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since NLM's podcasts began, we have followed the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's recommendations with interest — especially in areas where evidence shifts, such as assessing the impact of prostate cancer screening.
Meanwhile, MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page is a gateway to updated information about complex prostate cancer decisions and patient involvement. For example, Up-to-Date provides a website about prostate cancer screening within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page.
The National Cancer Institute provides a website that encourages African American men to be engaged in prostate cancer decision making within the 'related issues' section of MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Clinical trials that may be occurring in your area can be found in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about prostate cancer screening as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page, please type 'prostate cancer screening' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'prostate cancer screening (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus also has a health topic page devoted to prostate cancer.
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It was nice to be with you! Please join us here next week and here's to your health!