According to a recent article published on MSN.com., many men are getting unnecessary prostate cancer blood tests. In many instances, the patient is either too young or too old. The most current guidelines do not recommend PSA screening for men younger than 40 years of age, older than 75, or for men who are expected to live less than another 10 years. However, the study found that many men in these groups are still getting the tests.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men at high risk for prostate cancer, which includes African Americans, and men with a family or personal history of the disease, should begin undergoing yearly digital rectal exams and PSA blood tests between the ages of 40 and 45. Otherwise, men with average risk should begin screening at age 50.
In a study conducted by the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and Harvard Medical School, a research team collected data on almost 106,000 men treated at Veterans Health Affairs facilities across New England from 1997 to 2004. Of the more than 232,000 PSA tests given, 16.1 percent were found to be unnecessary. Among this group, 15.3 percent were given to men older than 75, and 0.8 percent were given to patients younger than 40.
PSA level is affected by many factors other than cancer, including an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This means that PSA results can lead to an over diagnosis of prostate cancer, along with missing cancer in younger men. Changes in PSA levels over time are the key to using the test correctly. For men in their 40s, a steady rise of PSA of more than half-a-point a year is a likely indication of prostate cancer. For men in their 60s or 70s, a rise of one point or more may be an indication of prostate cancer, but once BPH starts, PSA readings become less predictive.
At the Pittsburgh medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry, our lawyers have represented victims of medical malpractice involving the misdiagnosis of prostate cancer. Medical malpractice can occur when a doctor or other medical provider neglects to properly care for a patient during treatment or when they fail to properly diagnose (or delay in diagnosing) cancer.
If you have been a victim of medical practice, or someone you love has died because of a medical provider’s error, carelessness, or neglect, it is important that you speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can evaluate your case for you and file a claim on your behalf. Contact the medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry today for your FREE consultation.