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ACP: Men Need to Be Informed of PSA Testing Benefits, Harms

American College of Physicians' new screening guidance committee urges caution

TUESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Men between the ages of 50 and 69 years old need to be informed about the limited potential benefits and substantial harms of screening for prostate cancer, according to a guidance statement published online April 8 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Amir Qaseem, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the American College of Physicians' (ACP) Clinical Guidelines Committee, and colleagues evaluated prostate screening guidelines developed by the American College of Preventive Medicine, American Cancer Society, American Urological Association, and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The committee recommends that clinicians base screening decisions on the risk for prostate cancer, a discussion of the benefits and harms of screening, the patient's general health and life expectancy, and patient preferences. If patients do not express a clear preference for screening, then the prostate-specific antigen test should not be performed. Additionally, average-risk men under the age of 50 years, men over the age of 69 years, or men with a life expectancy of less than 10 to 15 years should not be screened using the prostate-specific antigen test.

"Studies are ongoing, so we can expect to learn more about the benefits and harms of screening, and recommendations may change over time," said David L. Bronson, M.D., president of ACP, in a statement. "Men can also change their minds at any time by asking for screening that they have previously declined or discontinuing screening that they have previously requested."

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