PCPC3 applauds Medicare decision re use of PSA test

The following statement was issued this afternoon by PCPC3 — the patient-centered prostate cancer collaborative coalition:

PCPC3 and its members are extremely pleased to learn that a key advisory group to Medicare has recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) step back from a proposal, initially put forward late in 2015, to penalize physicians financially for performing tests for risk of prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.

Several individual members of PCPC3 contributed formal and detailed comments to CMS stating their strong opposition to this proposal, including:

While the value of the PSA test in screening for prostate cancer has been a controversial issue for many years, there is no doubt whatsoever that, at this time, it remains a low-cost and simple blood test that offers concerned men and their families valuable information about their possible risk for diagnosis with the commonest form of cancer found among men in America.

PCPC3 and its members are pleased to have been able to take concerted action, along with others, such as the American Urological Association, to push back successfully against this poorly thought out proposal.

PCPC3 further recognizes that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is currently re-evaluating its May 2012 recommendation that the PSA test should not be routinely used at all as a tool to screen men for risk of prostate cancer.

About PCPC3

PCPC3 — the patient-centered prostate cancer collaborative coalition — is a group of independent, not-for-profit, patient-centric organizations whose primary goals include the education and support of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, their family members and care-givers, and all men at risk for prostate cancer. For more information about PCPC3, please see the PCPC3 web site.

2 Responses

  1. This is indeed good news, since the other approach was to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    PSA is very limited as a stand-alone screening measure for prostate cancer and, in the past, providers over-reacted to random variation as if it were a signal that action was necessary. Each man should establish a baseline pattern of variability for himself so that this can later inform treatment decisions. However, the distinction between screening and ongoing monitoring has been blurred. This decision restores some sanity to the discussion.

  2. Dear pfadtag:

    You might like to look at the information on the latest update to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering guidance on the appropriate application of PSA-based risk management. It deals in detail with exactly what you are suggesting.

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