In the journals: Urologists update PSA guideline

Published: August, 2013

In May 2013, the American Urological Association (AUA) has issued an update to its 2009 guideline to doctors on which men should be screened for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Screening means checking men without symptoms of prostate cancer for signs of hidden disease. The goal of screening is to catch cancer early, when it is hypothetically less advanced and more responsive to treatment. Ideally, screening should prevent death from the disease, not just diagnose it earlier. The downside of screening is that it can identify prostate cancers that would never have threatened health or longevity—and lead to treatments that therefore will have no benefits but that may have adverse effects, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Here are the highlights of the AUA guideline, which are consistent with recommendations already issued by other medical organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force:

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