Declining use of the DRE at a large VA medical center: is this a national trend?

Once upon a time (not so very long ago) the digital rectal examination or DRE was the only non-invasive test that a physician could use to assess whether a patient was at risk for localized prostate cancer and/or other prostate problems. Alas, the use of this test appears to be falling out of favor, which is probably not a good thing. … READ MORE …

DRE is still a key diagnostic tool in assessing risk for prostate cancer

A new study just published in the Canadian Journal of Urology has reminded us of the importance of the digital rectal emamination (DRE) in the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer. … READ MORE …

Should the DRE really be “optional” today?

Until very recently, all available guidelines for the early assessment of risk for prostate cancer clearly recommended the use of a physical examination (a digital rectal exam or DRE) in addition to a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. … READ MORE …

The Norrkoping prostate cancer screening trial — with 20-year follow-up

A new report just published as an open access, full-text article at is going to further confuse the issue of whether mass, population-based screening for prostate cancer is or isn’t a good idea. … READ MORE …

Dutch urologists say prostate cancer screening “cannot be justified”

A new review by specialists from Erasmus University Medical Center, just published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, states categorically that mass, population-based screening  for prostate cancer “cannot be justified yet in the context of a public health policy.” … READ MORE …

Some common sense about prostate cancer screening … from Australia

A new article in the Australian Medical Journal is titled, “It’s time to depolarise the unhelpful PSA-testing debate and put into practice lessons from the two major international screening trials.” We think this article makes a lot of sense. … READ MORE …

Prostate cancer news reports: Thursday, October, 2009

In today’s news reports we cover items on:

  • Risks for prostate cancer from  smoking and increased adipose tissue
  • The role of religious activities in prostate cancer testing among African Americans
  • Blood loss at the time of surgery and risk for progressive disease … READ MORE …

Prostate cancer news reports: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This morning’s news reports address:

  • Patterns of use of PSA and DRE testing in the USA
  • The value of ADT in men receiving combined brachytherapy + EBRT
  • Skeletal and cardiovascular adverse effects of ADT
  • LHRH agonist treatment and effects on LHRH agonist receptors … READ MORE …

Do PCPs actually hold pre-testing discussions with patients about prostate cancer risk?

Even though many medical organizations recommend discussions between patients and their doctors before testing of individuals for risk of prostate cancer, there are few hard data about how primary care physicians (PCPs) actually apply thee guidelines to promote informed decision making for prostate cancer testing. … READ MORE …

And to add to the confusion about annual prostate cancer screening …

… a paper from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio has provided a detailed analysis of the spectrum of variation of PSA and DRE data among men in an earlier screening program. … READ MORE …

What Johns Hopkins has to say about the screening controversy

Many readers may be interested in seeing what Johns Hopkins has to say about the two studies published just over a week ago in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This topic is addressed under the heading “Recent PSA Studies: What You Need To Know” in the latest issue of Health Alerts. Interestingly, in this article, Dr. H. Ballentine Carter seems to come down fairly firmly in the same camp as editorialist Michael J. Barry, MD, in his comments on these studies in the New England Journal of Medicine itself.

The screening discussion: what are others saying?

We thought it might be wise to make sure that readers of The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink didn’t just hear what we thought about today’s two NEJM articles, but also got a cross-section of perspectives from others.

Where relevant we have taken the liberty of giving our opinion on the articles we think you might like to look at, but we have tried hard not to pick articles that necessarily agree with us. … READ MORE …

Where we stand about screening NOW!

As we have already, albeit briefly, reported, two “major” papers were published in the New England Journal of Medicine today, and they both were designed to address the appropriateness of mass screening for prostate cancer — among men over the age of 55 years in the USA and over 50 years in Europe respectively.

We wish to state two things immediately:

  • These papers have only (perhaps) resolved one of the many issues that have driven the screening controversy for the past 20 years.
  • What you have or will read in or hear from the mass media almost certainly will be (or already has been) a vast over-simplification of the complexities inherent in these two papers. … READ MORE …

The weekend news reports: February 21, 2009

There are six reports in the news for the weekend, addressing such topics as:

  • DRE for prostate cancer at the time of colonoscopy
  • Development of a 3D transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy system
  • False-positive biochemical failures after external beam radiotherapy
  • Activity of inactivated Sendai virus particles on HRPC in vitro
  • Male pattern baldness, serum androgen levels, and prostate disorders
  • Psychosocial effects and implications of gynecomastia … READ MORE …

The Friday prostate cancer news reports: January 30, 2009

Today’s news reports are focused on issued around epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment decisions, and the role of humor in prostate cancer support group interactions. … READ MORE …


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