Why Screen for Prostate Cancer?
Screening finds earlier stage cancers, allows for simpler treatments with fewer side effects, and saves lives. For example, in 1985, prior to PSA screening, the prostate cancer five-year survival rate was 69% compared to 99% in 2006. It’s unclear whether this dramatic survival increase is entirely due to PSA screening. Other factors, such as improved therapy have also contributed.
Eight years ago, at the age of 55, I learned I had prostate cancer. At that time, ignoring three separate doctors’ recommendations, I decided to forego surgery. One of my doctors, a urologist, gave me the name of a patient who was on active surveillance. I contacted Brad Cole and our conversation gave me the courage to try it myself.
Maybe it’s shabby of me to immediately think: It’s all about money. The pot of gold at the end of the prostate cancer rainbow. Well, the first dip into that pot is billing for all those PSA tests, DREs and biopsies. Standard screening procedures, right? Only it’s not that clear cut. More and more these days, I tend to consult with Dr. Google. Turns out there is disagreement in high places.