Researchers Find An Increase In Prostate Specific Antigen Testing

Armen Hareyan's picture

Researchers affiliated with Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System (VA) and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that many physicians are ordering prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing at an increasing rate despite any clear evidence of the test's benefit. The greatest increases are among younger men, black men and those who have insurance. These findings appear in the December 10, 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland that is used by many physicians to screen for prostate cancer. To date, no studies have found that men screened by the PSA test survive longer than men who are not. While the test detects some prostate cancers early, it also leads to many false positives, subjects men to needless invasive tests and leads to substantially higher healthcare costs. As a result, most medical societies do not recommend screening all men with the test.

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