PSA tests: Just say no

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prostate-specific-antigenSomewhat similar to routine mammography of younger women, prostate-specific antigen screening in men without symptoms of prostate cancer has been shown to do more harm than good. But 58 percent of readers surveyed on MedPage Today say they d still recommend the test, despite official recommendations against it for healthy men from the American College of Physicians and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

"I am 65-years-old and have received PSA tests in past 5 years. There is family history of prostate cancer. My PSA remains high, in spite of treatment," wrote one reader. "I am confused with the comments that say PSA testing is waste of time!! Please advise."

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is happy to. PSA tests, she says, are not only ineffective, but "lead men down the path of unnecessary treatment. I think from a physicians' point of view, it's easy to do, so why not do it" but once you test a man for PSA and find it's elevated, that leads to more tests, biopsies, and a "bewildering" range of treatment options.