It’s one of the smartest moves ever made by a government panel — so naturally, they’re catching hell for it.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has urged docs and patients to put the kibosh on the PSA test — because after some 2 million prostate surgeries and procedures based on that screening, the disease’s death rate has remained unchanged.
In other words, it’s crystal clear that those PSA tests haven’t saved lives. They’ve only increased the number of life-altering surgeries and other treatments that have left men battling side effects like incontinence, infection and sexual dysfunction.
And in the cruelest irony of all, some men have even died as a direct result of those prostate screenings and surgeries.
But I’m sure you’ve heard the noise by now: Instead of welcoming the Task Force’s long-overdue move toward common sense, there have been howls of protest.
Look closely, however, and you’ll see none of them are coming from objective scientists.
They’re coming from people with a stake in continued PSA testing.
The loudest cries are from the urologists and oncologists who’ve earned big money on prostate procedures over the years. In fact, as of this writing, the only major medical groups to come out against the new recommendations are urologists.
Even the American Cancer Society has remained silent — with some of its top officers admitting that PSA tests have led to the mass overtreatment of harmless prostate cancers.
“We didn’t start using this test because we had clinical trials that showed it worked — we started using it because it was around and we were told it saves lives,” Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, the organization’s deputy chief medical officer told PBS News. “There’s nothing to indicate that was true.”
But many of the men who’ve had a cancer detected by a PSA test — and treatments on those cancers — are convinced it saved their lives. They make up the other group protesting this, even though they have no way of knowing whether the treatment actually prevented their own death.
In fact, the numbers show the opposite: They almost certainly would have lived a long and healthy life never even knowing they had prostate cancer — and eventually, they would have died of something else.
It’s tough to believe that, especially if you’ve gone through the trauma of a prostate surgery and battled the side effects afterwards… but those numbers don’t lie.
And now, even the government is ready to admit it. The real question today is: Will your own doctor play along?
Edward Martin is a health journalist who writes about today's most pressing health issues. He chronicles the most cutting-edge alternative methods for beating everything from diabetes to cancer and reports on the latest FDA foul-ups and Big Pharma conspiracies.