Prostate Cancer: Controversy Over Testing and Treatment May Cause Men to Ignore Realities of Disease
American Cancer Society Press Release
Contact: Leslie M. Yancey
American Cancer Society
Phone: (704) 552-6147
Prostate Cancer: Controversy Over Testing and Treatment May Cause Men to Ignore Realities of Disease American Cancer Society Stresses Importance of Informed Decision-Making
CHARLOTTE, (NC) – For men and their loved ones, two of the many issues surrounding prostate cancer are fear and confusion. In fact, recent news coverage has centered on the debate surrounding the benefits and limitations associated with prostate cancer testing and treatment – the main controversy around whether or not testing saves lives. According to the American Cancer Society, the nation’s leading voluntary health organization, more than 230,000 men in the United States, and 6,810 in North Carolina will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.
"Facing these decisions can be difficult, and it’s even harder for men who try to make them alone" says Durado Brooks, MD, the Society’s director of prostate and colorectal cancer. "Providing patients with the latest testing and treatment information based on years of research helps men take a more active role in their own health care and guides them through the decision-making process."
The Society encourages all men to:
Get as much information about prostate health as they can.
Talk with their doctor to determine their personal risk for prostate cancer.
Understand all available testing and treatment options so they can make informed decisions.
Contact the American Cancer Society for information about all aspects of prostate cancer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Many African American men don’t realize they are at higher risk for prostate cancer and are twice as more likely to die from the disease as other American men. And for all men, age and family history are risk factors. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 29,000 men in the United States will die from the disease this year, accounting for approximately 10 percent of all male cancer-related deaths.
That’s why the American Cancer Society strongly urges universal access to and education about prostate screening options and recommends both the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) for men who decide to be tested.
Once diagnosed, the prognosis for any prostate cancer patient depends on the extent of the cancer, the course of treatment selected, and other individual factors.
In August 2000, the American Cancer Society updated its prostate cancer early detection guidelines. Changes to the guidelines were based on a consensus reached by a panel of leading medical experts, scientists, advocates, and interested members of the public who conducted a comprehensive review of current research. As more men were tested and the implications of testing and treatment became more widely studied, the need for men to understand the debate on prostate cancer testing and treatment became apparent.
The current American Cancer Society guidelines are recommendations, not rules. Written for both doctors and the public, the guidelines are flexible in order to accommodate individual medical and personal needs, and are subject to revision based on new research evidence. They are:
Men 50 and older should be offered early detection tests (PSA and DRE) annually.
Men at high risk (family history, African Americans) should begin early detection testing (PSA and DRE) at age 45.
Prior to testing, all men should be provided with information about the benefits and limitations of testing.
"Given the implications of early detection testing, the American Cancer Society encourages men to consider it carefully," says Patricia P. Hoge, RN, Ph.D., Chief Mission Officer for the American Cancer Society’s South Atlantic Division. "Some men who get tested may benefit from early detection and treatment, thereby living longer, but other men may have complications from treatment without achieving any significant benefit. The American Cancer Society also believes it is reasonable to caution medical professionals that screening men with less than a 10-year life expectancy may be unnecessary."
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering, and preventing cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 14 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 14 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States.