What is the Task Force?
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC ) recently released guidelines recommending that the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test should not be used to screen for prostate cancer based on evidence that shows an increased risk of harm and uncertain benefits.
Prostate Cancer Canada disagrees with the recommendations and has launched this Support PSA Tests campaign to remind Canadians that the benefits of PSA screening far outweigh the negatives.
What is the PSA test?
The PSA test is a simple blood test, and this combined with other risk factors are an important indicator a doctor can use to help detect prostate cancer early and then monitor and treat as is appropriate for that patient.
Prostate Cancer Canada believes in 'smart screening', which takes the individual man's personal risk into account.
‘Smart screening’ is a personalized approach where men are encouraged to be tested to establish a baseline number, with follow-up based on individuals’ complete risk profile. If there are changes, the man and his doctor decide together how to move forward based on his personal risk factors. It is important to realize that a PSA test that warrants further follow-up does not mean a man will require treatment – it could mean active monitoring.
It is important to realize that a case that warrants further follow-up (as determined by positive biopsy) does not mean a man will require treatment – it could mean a watch and wait approach.
Why is PSA testing important?
According to new research, if PSA testing was eliminated, the cases of advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer would double, resulting in an estimated 13-20 per cent increase in prostate cancer deaths annually.
Early detection saves lives. The PSA test may not be perfect, but it’s the best indicator in clinical practice today to show that something may be wrong and it would be irresponsible to discontinue testing. Without PSA testing men could be diagnosed at a much later stage when death from the disease is much more likely.