By Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom
If you’re a man or someone who cares about one, you’ll want to pay attention to the updated government panel recommendations for prostate cancer screening in healthy men. A panel of national experts reviewed the risks and benefits of preventive prostate cancer screening using a blood measurement of PSA, an index of prostate problems.
Strategies for “early detection” of any medical illness are always being developed and refined. With prostate cancer screening, the panel reflects the view that this should now be a more personalized health decision, requiring a conversation with your doctor to discuss the pros and cons of screening.
This task force also urged that doctors understand the evidence, but they also individualize decision making for a particular patient or circumstance.
This is another example of medical progress; it should not be cause for alarm or confusion. As more evidence-based information is accumulated regarding the risks and benefits of medical screenings, it’s important to open a dialogue with your doctor about what is best for you.
Population data do not always apply to the individual. Become an informed and empowered health care consumer for yourself and those you care about.