Findings from a European study on the effects of screening for prostate cancer show that screening results in a 21% reduction in the risk of dying from prostate cancer. The European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) analyzed data from 162,000 men in a comprehensive and well-designed study. In stark terms, the improved survival equates to saving the life one man for every 1055 men screened.
Despite these encouraging findings, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends against routine prostate cancer screening. Despite the USPSTF’s controversial position, the American Cancer Society recommends that physicians speak with their male patients aged 50 and older about prostate cancer screening. This remains the standard of care. Under Ohio law, failure to follow the standard of care constitutes medical negligence. Numerous medical negligence cases arise out of a physician’s failure to properly screen or test for cancer that results in a delay in diagnosis.
Tragically, approximately 28,000 American men will die of prostate cancer in 2012. Screening needs to be taken seriously and physicians need to be vigilant in advising their male patients about the utility of prostate screening. The ERSPC study can be viewed here: