AHRQ responds to letter from Prostate Cancer Roundtable

Members of the Prostate Cancer Roundtable have received a letter from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) addressing issues raised by the Roundtable members about the draft USPSTF recommendations on use of the PSA test in screening for risk of prostate cancer.

The letter from Dr. Carolyn Clancy makes no comments or commitments directly related to the issues raised by the Prostate Cancer Roundtable. It is much as one would expect — a politically expedient letter reiterating many things that have been stated before.

The copy of the letter received by Women Against Prostate Cancer on January 23, 2012 can be read in full if you click here.

2 Responses

  1. Yes, we know that some men have a higher risk of getting diagnosed with prostate cancer, but that does not mean they are more likely to benefit from screening.

    Sadly, there has never been a screening study done just for high-risk men, so the value of screening them is completely unknown. In the absence of such information, which is better — to screen them aggressively until it is proven that it does not work or harms too many people or not screen them until studies are done to tell us whether it works?

  2. Wow! I know we need more scientific information with which to make screening decisions, but to suggest that maybe it’s better not to screen high-risk individuals until we have done those studies and have that data may not be such a good idea for individuals like me (as opposed to a population) whose father and paternal grandfather and uncle had all been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

    I was diagnosed at age 51 with a T1c, Gleason 7 cancer involving 20% of the gland which extended essentially to the margin of resection, only because of PSA screening (with a normal physical exam). If you say I should not have been screened because we don’t have the data to prove it’s beneficial and I should have waited until the studies are done, the results of those studies will likely be available long after I’m dead of metastatic disease, which would have been entirely preventable. That’s well and good to say that for populations, but not so swell for real people like me with real lives to live. Too bad the statisticians and their defenders just don’t get that concept.

    RG, MD

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