Elderly and African-American Men at Risk

The findings are a result of a large, population-based study led by the University of Rochester Medical Center and is the first to suggest that these two specific demographic groups might benefit the most from PSA testing. These tumors cannot be detected be physical exam and they do not show up in imaging or cause symptoms. The study illuminates that significant number of elderly and black men might be harboring an aggressive cancer that can only be diagnosed through a PSA test.

The PSA test is designed to detect the cancer at an early stage. In 2012 PSA screening became a controversial issue as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against PSA screening in all men. However, a subsequent report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology said that for men with a life expectancy of more than 10 years, the test has benefits that might outweigh the drawbacks.

This study analyzed data for 70,345 men in the United States with T1cN0M0 prostate cancer. Co-authors of the study warn that stopping PSA testing leaves no other current method of detecting aggressive prostate cancer in this group of high risk patients and they are hopeful the study would help physicians and patients make more informed choices regarding PSA testing.