The American Cancer Society is now saying that prostrate examinations are no longer advised and that screening tests may be of limited value. They than go on to say that routine examinations are no longer advisable and that doctors should discuss with patients the benefits and down sides of any prostrate examination. But it was this one statement that drew my attention:

The cancer society’s new guidance calls for doctors to stop routinely giving the digital rectal exam because it hasn’t clearly shown a benefit, though it can remain an option.

I have always had an unflattering opinion of those doctors who have chosen to specialize in urology and more specifically those that concentrate on the prostrate. I had an unfortunate experience with a urologist that left me with a bad opinion of this type of doctor and when possible I steer clear of these types of doctors. But that is just my opinion, one that I am sure is not shared by everyone.

What drew my attention to this article was the fact that many of us have suffered through the one finger salute and now we learn it is of little use. We also now are learning that the cancer society has a skeptical opinion about the blood testing procedure for prostrate cancer. They advise the following:

The cancer society hasn’t recommended routine screening for most men since the mid-1990s, and that is not changing. But its new guidelines urge doctors to talk frankly with their patients about the risks and limitations when offering the blood test measuring prostate-specific antigen. The test checks for a protein that can increase because of cancer or benign prostate conditions.

The widely used test often spots cancers that grow too slowly to be deadly, and treatment can lead to incontinence and impotence. Two big studies last year suggested prostate cancer screening doesn’t necessarily save lives, and any benefits can come at a high price.

This is disturbing news since in my last blood test, my prostrate value was very low, and gave me a feeling of wellness. Now I come to learn that is not the case.  I guess my next question is what do we do now? Do we wait until cancer has over taken the prostate and seek treatment?

Comments welcome.

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