August 8, 2008

Prostate Test Advice Won’t Stop Debate

NEW YORK - New advice that men older than 75 should not be screened for prostate cancer won't quell the long-standing controversy over the usefulness of the blood test for the disease, cancer experts say.

"It stokes the debate, I think," said Dr. Charles Ryan, a prostate cancer specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

And several experts are looking ahead to new research that might provide more specific guidance for all age groups.

"I think it's a very well done and justifiable recommendation," said Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director of disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health. "They continue to say the jury is still out for men under 75."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men - about 186,000 cases will be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. But most tumors grow so slowly they never threaten lives.

The cancer society's advice doesn't set an age to stop screening but suggests men shouldn't be offered screening if they aren't expected to live another 10 years, said Dr. Durado Brooks, a prostate cancer specialist for the American Cancer Society.

"That's because every 75-year-old is not created equal," he said.

Some have health problems and aren't likely to live long, but others are "very active, very vigorous and have minimal health issues, and many of those men are going to live into their late 80s or 90s," Dr. Brooks said.

Originally published by Associated Press.

(c) 2008 Augusta Chronicle, The. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.