American Urological Association Statement in Support of Prostate-Specific Antigen...

Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:07am EDT

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American Urological Association Statement in Support of Prostate-Specific
Antigen Testing


LINTHICUM, Md., March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The statement below is
attributable to Dr. John Barry, president of the American Urological
Association. This statement is being issued in response to two studies
recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine about
prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.

The American Urological Association has read with great interest the coverage
surrounding the two studies about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing
recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and is concerned
about the alarm these two studies have raised with patients. The decision to
screen for prostate cancer is a personal one that a man should make in
conjunction with his physician or urologist. Because most cancers need to be
caught in their earliest stages to achieve the best outcome for the patient,
disparaging the PSA test puts men - particularly with certain risk profiles -
at risk for life-threatening disease. Prior to the use of the PSA test, tumors
were found mostly in advanced - and less treatable - stages, giving patients
far fewer options for treatment. These studies, as well as the 2008 United
States Preventive Services Task Force recommendation that men stop PSA testing
after the age of 75, have potential for harm if they are not explained clearly
to patients or reviewed in the context of the full debate on PSA. It is the
opinion of the AUA that the PSA test is a valuable screening tool that saves
lives - and men with concerns about elevated PSA scores should consult their
urologists about next steps. 

These two studies do not clearly assert that PSA testing causes more harm than
benefit. In one of the two studies, 52 percent of men in the "non-screened"
arm had recent PSA tests, thus enriching the non-screened arm with men who had
normal PSA levels and reducing the chance for prostate cancer death in this
arm of the study. This means that more than half of the men in the
non-screening arm of the study were screened, making it difficult to
demonstrate a difference. In the other study, there was actually a 20 percent
reduction in death from prostate cancer with a relatively short follow-up of
only nine years. This is an important point. The benefit of screening may not
be demonstrable until significantly longer follow up is reached for both
trials. These studies therefore do not lead to the conclusion that PSA
screening should be abandoned. 

Men who are concerned about these studies should talk with their urologists
about their particular risk profile and whether regular PSA testing is best
for them.

The AUA is presently finalizing a new Best Practice Statement about
prostate-specific antigen testing that will be unveiled during our upcoming
Annual Meeting. These studies are being addressed in more detail in the
Statement, but do not change the AUA's position that PSA is a valuable
screening tool and should be appropriately offered to men. This document will
be made available to the public in April.

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered
near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the
pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 15,000
members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA
pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by
carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients,
including, an award-winning on-line patient education
resource, and the American Urological Association Foundation, Inc.

    Media Contacts:
    Wendy Waldsachs Isett
    410-689-3789 (office)
    410-977-4770 (cell)

SOURCE  American Urological Association

Wendy Waldsachs Isett of American Urological Association, +1-410-689-3789
(office); +1-410-977-4770 (cell),
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