May, 2012 -
Melville - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its final recommendation statement today instructing physicians to discourage asymptomatic men from receiving prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing as part of routine cancer screening. Advanced Urology Centers of New York (AUCNY), the country's largest independent urology practice, adamantly disagrees and continues to speak out against this recommendation.
"It is outrageous that despite the academic and epidemiological evidence proving that PSA screening and early detection saves lives, the USPSTF panel, which did not include urologists or oncologists, continues to ignore this data and makes this recommendation risking countless lives," said Dr. Deepak A. Kapoor, President of Advanced Urology Centers of New York and President of Large Urology Group Practice Association. "Even though urologists, prostate cancer patients, and patient advocacy groups were united in their opposition to this recommendation the USPSTF panel chose to ignore their views and instead 'cherry-picked' data to support what can only be viewed as a pre-conceived bias against screening."
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer affecting men in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. In fact, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and despite advances in early detection and treatment, one man dies every 30 minutes from this disease. The incidence and death rate is even higher for African American men or those with a family history of this disease. Since there are no symptoms of early prostate cancer, the only way to detect prostate cancer is with screening - which includes PSA testing.
The largest study on screening, the European Randomized Study for the Screening of Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) published its updated findings in the March issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that an overall reduction in cancer specific deaths of 21% for all who received screening. More importantly, for patients followed for over 10 years screened patients had a survival advantage of 38% compared to those patients that did not receive screening. This is consistent with the experience in the United States, where death rates from prostate cancer have declined by nearly 40 percent over the last two decades, although the incidence of the disease has been relatively stable. Kapoor said, "This shows what clinicians treating this disease know to be true in practice, that we are not detecting more prostate cancer, we are detecting cancer earlier, and saving lives."
The USPSTF, in issuing a blanket statement that affects all men, ignored those populations at greatest risk: African-Americans and those with a family history of prostate cancer. These patients are at greatest need for counseling about their risks factors and education about the ramifications of not having PSA testing. "These recommendations risk undoing 20 years of progress in patient education. Failure to detect prostate cancer in its early, most curable form will result in a public health catastrophe in 5-10 years when these men present with advanced disease," said Kapoor.
Perhaps most troubling is that the USPSTF raises issues not about the diagnostic accuracy of screening, but about the potential harms associated with treatment. Dr. Kapoor states that, "Weighing risks and benefits of different treatment options is a decision every patient should be able to make after consultation with their own doctor and loved ones. No unaccountable government entity should have the power to deny men access to tests that saves the lives of thousands of men a year, nor the power to restrict the ability of men to choose their own health care destiny; this issue is more than a medical concern, it is a fundamental issue of human rights."
Advanced Urology Centers of New York (AUCNY), a division of Integrated Medical Professionals, is comprised of community physicians committed to providing the highest level of medical service and patient care available. With more than 40 locations in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Manhattan, Westchester, Rockland County and The Bronx, AUCNY is the largest urology group practice in the United States, and leading regional provider of urology services. AUCNY physicians represent some of the country's top urologists, many of whom are active in clinical and academic research, participate in postgraduate medical education and lecture internationally on cutting edge breakthroughs in medicine. AUCNY urologists are on staff in most hospitals in the New York Metro region and participate in most insurance plans, including Medicare.
To learn more about Advanced Urology Centers of New York call 516-931-0041.
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