Sunday, December 21, 2014

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.

More coverage
 
More in Health: Only person ever cured of AIDS

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 regional health news and a wide array of healthcare topics from pharmaceutical happenings to patient safety. Read about some of our bloggers here.

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

Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
Amy J. Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Dual Board Certified Anesthesiologist and Surgical Intensivist
Latest Health Videos
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected