These statistics are just part of the story. Prior to PSA testing, 25% of men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer already had spread of the disease to their bones. Now it is less than 5%.The USPSTF got it completely wrong when they recommend waiting to get a PSA until a man has symptoms of prostate cancer. For many men, these symptoms do not occur until late in the disease, when they can suffer miserably from the side effects of advanced disease. 30,000 men die annually from this disease and this number will rise significantly because of these recommendations. It will set back the advances made in prostate cancer by over 20 years.
This is just the latest attempt by the USPSTF to limit effective screening methods for cancer. In 2010, they made recommendations to significantly curtail screening mammography for breast cancer in women. Now they are recommendations, but soon, when Obamacare is fully implemented, these will be policy, not suggestions, and will have the full force of law behind it. Other screening programs will soon be on the chopping block, like colonoscopy for colon cancer screening.
The reason behind this is simple. It is about money, power and control. On the UTPSTF web site, it states that over 1000 PSA tests were necessary to save a single life from prostate cancer. Someone in Washington has decided what the value of a human life is, and what would be the acceptable cost associated with saving it. This is called “comparative effectiveness” and is what happens in a socialized healthcare system, like in England, where resources need to be allocated prudently, and healthcare is rationed. This is the essence of Obamacare- a system where medical decisions have been taken away from patients and their doctors and transferred to bureaucrats in Washington.
Just two final notes - my friend, a family medicine doctor, sent me an email that 3 of his patients called today to get a PSA before it was unavailable. And for the record, President Obama was screened for prostate cancer with a PSA within the past year.
Hal C. Scherz, MD is the Founder and President of Docs4PatientCare, VP of Georgia Urology, and Associate Clinical Professor Urology- Emory University.