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Medical News & Perspectives
May 5, 1999

Issues in Prostate Cancer Screening

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JAMA. 1999;281(17):1573-1575. doi:10.1001/jama.281.17.1573

During the last decade, increasing numbers of American men have been screened for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal examination (DRE). A number of public figures, such as Bob Dole and Arnold Palmer, who have been tested for prostate cancer and treated for the disease, have encouraged men to be screened.

But in spite of its popularity, screening men for prostate cancer is a subject of debate and is likely to remain so for a while. At this time, no medical organization supports the routine screening of asymptomatic men for prostate cancer. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) and American Urological Association (AUA), which endorsed screening in the past, no longer do so. However, both recommend that physicians offer the test to men 50 years of age or older who have a life expectancy of 10 years. Their policies also emphasize the need for physicians to provide patients with objective information on the risks and benefits of prostate cancer intervention.

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