Screening for prostate cancer
Are organized screening programs necessary?
Already in 1991 when the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test was proposed as a diagnostic test, screening for prostate cancer (PCa) was considered controversial due to the considerable risk of detecting latent PCa. Randomised controlled trials were initiated to assess the potential of PSA-based screening in reducing disease-specific mortality. Harms and benefit were closely monitored and both were confirmed. A reduction in mortality was seen and at the same time the initial fear of unnecessary testing and over diagnosis became reality. This triggered professional organizations to adapt their guidelines and to focus on shared decision making (SDM) and selective screening for those men considered at high risk. Unfortunately implementation of guidelines into daily clinical practice is bothersome. As a result many men are being (re) tested while not being at risk and the potential benefit being unclear. This raises the question on whether PSA screening should be organized in controlled programs. While the PSA test will remain the mainstay of PCa early detection many other additional tests (biomarkers/imaging) are currently being tested in large population-based initiatives as a first step to organized programs in selective groups of men.
|Keywords||Harm and benefit, Mortality, Opportunistic testing, Over diagnosis, Prostate cancer (PCa), Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), Screening|
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.21037/tau.2017.12.10, hdl.handle.net/1765/104271|
|Journal||Translational Andrology and Urology|
Roobol-Bouts, M.J. (2018). Screening for prostate cancer. Translational Andrology and Urology, 7(1), 4–11. doi:10.21037/tau.2017.12.10