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Chat transcript: Making sense of prostate cancer screening

Last month, an influential federal panel rejected use of the PSA test as a screen for prostate cancer. A family physician will help sort through the confusion.

Chat transcript: Making sense of prostate cancer screening

In rejecting PSA screening for prostate cancer, an influential federal panel has chipped a cornerstone of preventive medicine, declaring that it´s not always best to catch cancer as early as possible. (AP Photo/U.S. Postal Service)
In rejecting PSA screening for prostate cancer, an influential federal panel has chipped a cornerstone of preventive medicine, declaring that it's not always best to catch cancer as early as possible. (AP Photo/U.S. Postal Service)

Editor's Note: Scroll down to see the chat. 

Last month, in a controversial move, an influential federal panel rejected use of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test as a screen for prostate cancer. 

"At best, PSA screening may help only 1 man in 1,000 avoid death from prostate cancer," the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said. "Most prostate cancers found by PSA screening are slow growing, not life threatening, and will not cause a man any harm during his lifetime."

Urologists and advocacy groups immediately decried the advice - as they did when a draft version was released last October - and worried that insurers may stop paying for PSA testing.

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What should men do as they approach the age for such screening? 

Mona Sarfaty, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of the Health Policy and the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, was online on June 14 at 1 p.m. to help readers sort through the confusion.

Sarfaty's current research focuses on policy initiatives in cancer prevention and control, and outcomes improvement in primary care. She is a certified family physician.

You can read the transcript from the chat below. 

About this blog

Check Up covers major health events in our region and offers everything from personal health advice to an expert look at health reform. Read about some of our bloggers here.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section

Michael Cohen id the president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in Horsham.

Daniel Hoffman is the president of Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates (PBRA) in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, a healthcare research and consulting company specializing in key account positioning and messaging.

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