Experts Change Their Minds About Prostate Cancer Screening

An influential government health task force now says that the benefits of getting screened for prostate cancer may slightly outweigh the risks. For that reason, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is advising men to discuss with their doctors whether screening makes sense for them, rather than skipping the test as they’d previously recommended for most men.

The new recommendation is a reversal from the one they issued in 2012, when the USPSTF advised most men not to get screened for prostate cancer using an inexpensive blood test, called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. Based on the evidence they had available at that time, they concluded that the risks of screening—which include false positive results, overtreatment of slow-growing cancers and side effects from those treatments—outweighed the small benefits. But with more data on the subject, the task force now leans toward the benefits of screening.

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