To the Editor:
Thank you, Lawrence Synett and the Northwest Herald, for the Jan. 12 article on prostate cancer, touching on the controversial and disappointing “D” grade assessed by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommending against prostate-specific antigen pre-cancer screening.
A step backward for prostate cancer prevention, PSA counts rise with age, not always indicating cancer. The USPSTF concluded that testing healthy men risks performing unnecessary procedures due to abnormal results and harm from complications of those procedures.
Reportedly, none of the USPSTF members are urologists or oncologists.
The same panel in 2009 rejected the need for regular mammograms, concluding the benefits did not outweigh the harms.
There is fear that the “D” grade will justify noncoverage of preventative PSA testing, and discourage the doctor/patient discussion concerning an individual’s cancer risk due to race or family health history.
Prostate cancer detected early is considered treatable – even curable. This decision could result in more diagnoses happening after the cancer has metastasized.
Statistics speak volumes: Prostate cancer is No. 2 in cancer deaths of men; 1 in 6 will be diagnosed with some stage in his lifetime; 1 in 36 diagnosed will die from it.
A personal spin – Dad was healthy and rarely visited the doctor. Had the symptoms been painful or visible, he would have tested earlier. It had spread to his bones by the time of diagnosis.
After retiring, my parents’ calendar should have been filled with vacations and car shows, not doctor appointments and chemo treatments.
Dad will never see his long-awaited grandsons graduate, achieve careers, or start families.
Jacki Ducey Amber