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Ask the Expert: What should men know about prostate cancer screenings?

What should men know about prostate cancer screenings? (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - There are new recommendations out on Tuesday in cancer screening for men.

These new recommendations have been put out for public comment, meaning right now they are in draft stages and you can submit your thoughts on them before final approval.

Cancer specialists at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare explain what men might need to know more about for an important discussion about prostate cancer and health.

For decades, the test used for early detection of prostate cancer has been the “PSA.”

“PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen, it's a protein that's in the blood that can be checked by a blood test,” said Dr. Pratic Shah.

Dr. Pratic Shah is a cancer specialist who says the new recommendations just released for public comment from the US Preventative Services Task Force suggest a more individualized approach to this screening.

What makes these recommendations unique, however, is not just what they recommend, it's who they are recommending it for, now looking at younger men and the risk for prostate cancer.

“Screening recommendation can start at a younger age, mid 50, 55. 45 and it sort of depends on each patient’s situation and family history,” said Dr. Shah.

The task force encouraged men 55 to 69 to make individualized decisions about prostate cancer screening with their clinician and recommends against screening men age 70 years and older.

Dr. Shah says it's important for men to weigh benefits and risks, but also to note that since regular screening for prostate cancer began…

“Over the past 20 to 30 years we've been able to find these years, earlier and earlier and most commonly it's before we could even feel a problem,” said Dr. Shah.

Draft recommendations being released right now:

To note that regular screening with PSA's has led to important draft recommendations being released right now, this draft recommendation statement is being distributed solely for the purpose of receiving public input.
It has not been disseminated otherwise by the USPSTF. The final recommendation statement will be developed after careful consideration of the feedback received.
The following documents will be available for public comment from 8:00 AM ET on April 11 until 8:00 PM ET on May 8, and can be accessed by clicking the title of each document. We invite the public to provide input on all of our recommendations. This is a critical part of our process and our commitment to ensuring that our recommendations are clear and that our work is transparent.
The difficulty with an elevated PSA just from the test whether there is a cancer or not, that would require biopsy.
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