Prostate Cancer Awareness Week
September 17th to 23rd is Prostate Cancer Awareness Week. Beginning in 1989, the Prostate Conditions Education Council, a patient group, has coordinated this observance by organizing hundreds of free or low-cost screening sites across the country. To date, the program has resulted in more than three million screenings.
PCEC's mission is to alert men to the importance of early detection, and to educate on innovations in screening options. However, prostate screening became a controversial topic when the United States Preventive Task Services issued guidelines in May of 2012 quoting USPSTF Co-Chair Michael LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.Has saying, “Prostate cancer is a serious health problem that affects thousands of men and their families. But before getting a PSA test, all men deserve to know what the science tells us about PSA screening: there is a very small potential benefit and significant potential harms. We encourage clinicians to consider this evidence and not screen their patients with a PSA test unless the individual being screened understands what is known about PSA screening and makes the personal decision that even a small possibility of benefit outweighs the known risk of harms.”
Yet a release from the PCEC quotes the organization's president, Wendy Poage, MHA, as saying, “As the research shows, countless lives could be saved if more men knew about the dangers of prostate cancer and took action to get tested. This year, nearly 30,000 American men will die from prostate cancer. That is just too many for a disease that is often treatable when caught early.”
Ultimately, the decision to screen or not remains with each individual. Here at ThirdAge, we recommend that you and your man visit both the Prostate Cancer Awareness Week site and the complete USPTS guidelines. After you have studied the pros and cons, your best bet is to schedule a consultation with your man's own physician.