In a new study, researchers suggest that routine testing for prostate cancer has small and uncertain benefits and clear harms.
Therefore, they do not recommend it for most men except those with a family history of prostate cancer.
The study t was done by a team of international experts.
Currently, the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is the only widely used test to screen for prostate cancer.
It is used in many countries but still remains controversial.
This is because the number of healthy men diagnosed with and treated unnecessarily for harmless tumors has been increasing.
In the current research, the team carried out a detailed analysis of the latest evidence using the GRADE approach (a system used to assess the quality of evidence).
They reviewed more than 700,000 men in clinical studies and found that if screening reduces prostate cancer deaths at all, the effect is very small.
They advise against offering routine PSA screening and suggest that most men may need to decline to screen because of the small and uncertain benefits and clear harms.
In addition, doctors don’t need to feel obligated to raise the issue with all their patients. Instead, they should engage in shared decision making for those considering screening.
The team also suggests that men at higher risk of prostate cancer death may need to do routine PSA screening. They should talk to their doctors.
The study is published in The BMJ.
Their advice is based on the latest evidence and is part of The BMJ’s ‘Rapid Recommendations’ initiative.
It aims to produce rapid and trustworthy guidance based on new evidence to help doctors make better decisions with their patients.
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