PSA Test Can Save Men’s Lives

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate with the subject “PSA Testing Can Save Men’s Lives“. I hope you take a minute to read it. I’ve reprinted it here for you….

PSA Testing Can Save Men’s Lives

As a urologist practicing in Baton Rouge, I am gravely concerned by the new recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.

These recommendations do a great disservice to men around the country, particularly those with a higher risk of the disease (i.e., African-American men, those with a family history of the disease, those who are underinsured and those who live in rural areas with limited health care access).

The decision to be tested for prostate cancer is an individual decision that men should discuss with their physicians. There is no single standard that applies to all men — nor should there be. No one can dispute that the PSA test has limitations, but when used and interpreted appropriately, the test provides valuable information in the diagnosis, pretreatment staging, risk assessment and monitoring of prostate cancer patients.

The American Urological Association recommends that the best decisions regarding prostate cancer testing comes from individualized discussions between a man and his urologist. It would be barbaric to universally dismiss the PSA test before a suitable alternative to prostate cancer diagnosis is available. There are many men in this community who would tell you that a PSA test saved their life.

J. Dudley Atkinson IV, M.D.
Baton Rouge

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