Screening for Prostate Cancer May Be Beneficial Only to Healthy Men
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According to researchers in the United States, screening for prostate cancer may be beneficial only to healthy men. While most doctors begin screening men for prostate cancer after the age of 50, there is controversy surrounding this.
The first concern is the cost of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests which can be $50 or higher. In addition, since prostate cancer tends to be slow growing there may be too many men getting unnecessary intensive treatment.
Some men have undergone radiation or other invasive procedures when their cancer was not really life-threatening. In addition, some of the serious side effects may outweigh the benefits to having a prostate cancer screening test performed. Side effects such as urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction can occur.
It is also believed that while screening may help some men, in general it will not prevent death in most. So while it could be helpful to men who are healthy, it may be less beneficial to those who are in poor health.
Doctors are divided on the issue of prostate cancer screening. This will continue to be a source of investigation for some time as researchers look into whether or not prostate cancer screening is beneficial.
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