USA Today which has a hard enough time just reporting the news is now dispensing medical advice: The news that Sen. Ron Wyden has been diagnosed with prostate cancer should be a reminder to men over 50 to be screened for the disease. They don’t seem to have looked to see what the scientific basis for that statement is. The truth is that there is no scientific basis for the statement. Here’s what the US Preventive Services Task Force says: The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening in men younger than age 75 years. The USPSTF recommends against screening for prostate cancer in men age 75 years or older. Even the American Cancer Society no longer recommends routine screening for prostate cancer. Their 2010 Guidelines says: This guideline document is long and complex. To paraphrase a wise epidemiologist who studied it, “Sometimes it is not possible to simplify something that is complex.” Prostate cancer screening is complex. The ACS guidelines are neither a statement against prostate screening nor a statement for prostate screening; rather, they are a statement for informed or shared decision making. More clearly than in 1997 and 2001, these guidelines state that there are definite uncertainties regarding the efficacy of prostate cancer screening, there are known risks associated with it, and there may be a benefit.
What Senator Wyden did is between him and his doctor. What the general public should know is that screening for prostate cancer is a complicated problem that it should not be routine, rather it should be discussed by the patient and his doctor before it is employed. No major medical organization advises routine prostate cancer screening. And US Today should check its facts before rushing into print with ill advised medical advice..