PSA

  1. PSAs fail another test

    Prostate screenings fall short again

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- and I'll keep on saying it until I'm blue in the face if I have to: Prostate screenings don't save lives.

    It was true when I was the only one saying it years ago... and it's still true today, as a major new long-term study proves me right.

    Researchers from Sweden's Karolinska Institute recruited 9,026 men and randomly assigned 1,500 of them to get screened every three years between 1987 and 1996.

    For the first two screenings, they got digital rectal exams... with PSA tests worked into the mix for the remainder.

    During a 20-year follow-up period, 4 percent of those who didn't get screened were diagnosed with prostate cancer... versus 6 percent of those who got screened.

    That's a 50 percent boost in cancer diagnoses among men who were screened -- so you'd think that would lead to a 50 percent boost in survival rates, right?

    Longtime readers, say it with me: WRONG!

    Both groups had the exact same rate of death by prostate cancer, according to the study in BMJ -- and the researchers say it's because the screenings only detected low-risk tumors that hadn't spread.

    Those are exactly the tumors that don't need to be treated -- but once they're detected, cancer docs start salivating. They can't wait to chop, poke, slice and zap their way to another big paycheck.

    Those treatments can leave you weeping over a leaky, limpy manpart -- but none of this matters to your surgeon. He's got a sports car, a vacation home and probably a few women on the side -- and those things don't pay for themselves, you know.

    That's not the only prostate scam going: Another new study finds that older men -- men who couldn't possibly benefit from prostate screenings no matter which side of this debate you're on -- are still getting screened anyway.

    In fact, they're more likely to get screened than younger men!

    Researchers say 46 percent of men in their early 70s and 25 percent of those 85 and older are getting screened regularly -- versus 24 percent of men in their early 50s.

    But the only number you need to remember is the one from the study I mentioned earlier: zero boost in survival rates.

    And that means you can say no to screenings at any age.

  2. Why you should skip your PSA

    I only have one problem with the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test that's used to screen for prostate cancer: it doesn't work.

    This shot-in-the-dark screening has been responsible for more needless invasive surgeries (which led to cases of impotence, or incontinence) than it has been for saving lives. And now there's finally a study by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that vindicates my feelings on this controversial test. In fact, the task force has urged doctors to stop using the test to screen men over the age of 75.

    "For the overwhelming majority of men over the age of 75, discontinuing PSA screening is probably a very safe thing to do," said lead researcher Dr. H. Ballentine Carter from Johns Hopkins University.

    The study was unable to find ANY cases of men over age 75 with PSA readings of less than 3 nanograms that have died from the disease. And roughly two thirds of men have PSA readings under 3 ng! Which means that when it comes to prostate cancer, the cure - heavy-duty radiation treatments and major surgery - is likely far worse than even the threat of the disease.

  3. Study questions the effectiveness of the colonoscopy

    The colonoscopy is the only form of early cancer diagnosis that gets my full support. And even though a recent study has found that colonoscopies only detect 60 percent of polyps, I still think they're beneficial.
  4. Prostate treatment leads to brain woes

    A new study has found that men whose prostate cancer is treated with hormone deprivation therapy could experience memory loss and difficulty in concentrating.
  5. Why you should put off prostate treatment

    A new study has found that men with early-stage prostate cancer actually aren't at a big risk if they choose to take a wait-and-see approach to treatment rather than going immediately under the knife.
  6. The cancer crapshoot

    In the past I've told you how this misguided mainstay of the mainstream is useless as a diagnostic tool because PSA readings can vary dramatically from test to test in the same person - it's a total crapshoot
  7. Preparedness for Attack

    Folks, I just can't say enough about the sad state this country is in when it comes to preparedness for a biological, radiological or chemical terror attack at the hands of our sometimes nameless, faceless enemies.
  8. Is Prostate Cancer Screening Useless?

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Prostate cancer screening is USELESS. Strong words, I know - but time and again science has proven me right.
  9. Milk thistle for prostate cancer

    According to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, milk thistle may be effective in the treatment of prostate cancer.

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