The Medical Society of the State of New York is joining the American Urological Association, the Large Urology Group Practice Association and the American Association of Clinical Urologists in protesting the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force decision to assign a "D" rating to PSA-based screening for prostate cancer as ill-advised and irresponsible.
"One in six men in the United States risks getting prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer has always been widespread; however, before 1987, physicians did not screen for it," said Dr. Michael M. Ziegelbaum, vice president of the Nassau County Medical Society and a board-certified urologist with Advanced Urology Centers of New York. "At that time 25 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer had disease that had spread to other parts of the body, which was inevitably fatal. Today, with early detection, that number has been drastically reduced to less than 5 percent. Overall, the death rate from prostate cancer has decreased by 44 percent in the PSA screening era."
The task force did not include any urologists or oncologists on its panel and the main study cited - the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial - was seriously flawed., according to the study's critics. Findings of the largest prostate cancer screening trial, European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer, which found as much as a 31 percent decrease in cancer-specific mortality in screened vs. non-screened men was discounted by the panel.
The Medical Society of the State of New York calls on New York legislators to reject the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendation and to support PSA screening for prostate cancer.