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Prostate screening yet again

I've mentioned PSA (prostate specific antigen) several times in this blog, because I was annoyed with the BBC for indirectly promoting screening for prostate cancer in dramas. It seems the media in Australia are similarly pushing this, according to Minerva in today's BMJ.There has been a huge campaign telling Australian men that they can "save their lives" by measuring their PSA levels and downplaying the risks of surgery. Those who raised concerns were vilified. I wonder what is behind this misrepresentation of the facts?

A letter in the same issue of the BMJ from Gerard Dubois, at the University Hospital of Amiens, says that "screening for prostate cancer in men over 50 is hardly acceptable becuse overdiagnosis is obvious and the impact on mortality remains unproved despite numerous trials in the past 15 years. ... The only demonstrated effect of prostate screening is a 5-10% biopsy rate in the screened population, with a risk of sepsis and haemorrhage. Plus, for those treated, various adverse effects (impotence, incontinence, pain, rectal ulcers, etc.)"

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