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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 between ages 55–69 are urged to discuss the risks versus the benefits of prostate cancer screening with their physician while screening is not recommended for younger adult or older males, in new recommendations recently released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent volunteer panel of experts that focuses on health prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force periodically evaluates changing medical evidence about health risks that involve preventive screening and makes recommendations about treatment, which help set clinical practice standards in the U.S.
The Task Force's prior recommendations about prostate cancer screening in 2012 did not encourage men between ages 55–69 to obtain a prostate cancer screening test as part of routine medical check-ups.
The Task Force shifted its recommendations (only for men between 55-69) because of new, international, prostate cancer research findings in the past six years. The Task Force's website devoted to its recommendations is available at: screeningforprostatecancer.org.
On its website, the Task Force explains its cautionary counsel to screen for prostate cancer is based on: the possibility of false positive tests; the overdiagnosis and overtreatment that sometimes occurs when prostate cancer is detected, as well as the physical harm from interventions to treat prostate cancer, such as incontinence.
Overall, prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths among American men. About 27,000 deaths from prostate cancer are estimated to occur this year. The prostate-specific antigen (or PSA) test is used for prostate cancer screening.
In the JAMA article that reports its recommendations, the Task Force members conclude (and we quote): '...with moderate certainty that the net benefit of PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in men aged 55 to 69 years is small for some men' (end of quote).
The Task Force adds (and we quote): 'For men aged 55 to 69 years, the decision to undergo periodic PSA-based screening for prostate cancer should be an individual one and should include discussion of the potential benefits and harms of screening with their clinician. Screening offers a small potential benefit of reducing the chance of death from prostate cancer in some men' (end of quote).
Meanwhile, information about prostate cancer screening (from Up-to-Date) is available within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page.
The National Cancer Institute provides a guide to the risks of prostate cancer screening within the 'related issues' section of MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page.
Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles about prostate cancer are available in the 'journal articles' section of MedlinePlus.gov's prostate cancer screening health topic page. Links to prostate cancer screening clinical trials that may be occurring in your area also are available in the 'clinical trials' section.
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.gov also contains a health topic page on prostate cancer.
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