Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Prostate PSA screening could soon be a thing of the past

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17 January 2012

UK Edition

Dear Reader,

..the test failed you.

After years of relying on routine prostate cancer screening to establish courses of cancer-treatment for millions of men, finally health authorities in the US are saying that the PSA test should become a thing of the past.

Their reasoning? In all those years, it's done far more harm than good.

The US panel of experts have determined that the PSA test gets a "D," meaning "there is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits." Obviously, this goes along with a recommendation against using the test for healthy men.

Rather than using the PSA test as a catch-all screening process, they're suggesting restricting them to use in diagnosis of men who are already suspected of having prostate cancer.

The thing is, a positive from a PSA test doesn't automatically mean cancer. High PSA levels can be caused by infections, an enlarged prostate, or even recent ejaculation. As a result, our reliance on PSA tests has led to high rates of false positives and the overtreatment of slow-growing cancers that might not have caused any harm at all.

So, in other words, a man who has a high PSA level might end up going in for aggressive surgery or radiation treatments for a cancer that would have grown so slowly that it never would have affected his life... and end up impotent or incontinent thanks to those unnecessary treatments.

Though the recommendation from the panel may be a new one, the thinking behind it certainly isn't new to our regular e- Tips readers. I've written numerous times about the mainstream's preference for aggressive treatment — and the harms caused by over diagnosis through PSA testing. In fact, we gave PSA testing a failing grade all the way back in 2006!

Numerous studies of men with low-risk tumours have shown that just keeping an eye on things is best — in one study, the men who put off treatment were doing just fine an average of 8 years later, and up to 20 years.

The fact is deaths attributed to prostate cancer are very low among men with low-risk tumours. So this really is one of those cases in which the cure is usually worse than the disease.

The bottom line is that a high PSA level doesn't have to be a ticket to aggressive treatment. Rather than subjecting your body to the devastating effects of harsh cancer treatments, you can keep an eye on things and feed it the supplements and foods that you know contribute to prostate health (vitamins C and K3, fish, and processed tomato products are just a few).

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone's personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Wishing you the best of health,

Andrew Miller
UK Editor
Nutrition and Healing

P.S. In the latest issue of Nutrition & Healing, Dr. Wright will tell you how to beat back the common cold with an ordinary mineral... You'll also learn about the latest ground-breaking research that has uncovered a cervical cancer breakthrough... PLUS we'll share the remarkable story of a lady called Evelyn, who recovered from macular degeneration with "...no drugs, no surgery..."

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"PSA Test for Prostate Cancer Not Recommended: U.S. panel," Health News (healthnews.com)

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