Alert
Close

Tell your senator to end the gridlock and renew the Older Americans Act now. Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

AARP REALPAD

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Should You Have a PSA Test for Prostate Cancer?

Handling new recommendations against PSA testing

There certainly are men for whom the PSA test can be a lifesaver. "Screening is definitely called for if a man has a family history of prostate cancer, especially if it spread and couldn't be controlled," says urologist Martin Sanda, M.D., of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Sanda also recommends the test for "African Americans and men with other risk factors for aggressive cancer, including obesity."

Conversation is key

"Previous recommendations of this task force and the American Cancer Society have been that PSA testing should not be done indiscriminately, but doctors should make it available to healthy men and talk about the pros and cons," says Sanda. "That's valid."

Yale University therapeutic radiologist Richard Peschel, M.D., concurs. "Even before agreeing to a blood test, a man should sit down with his doctor and talk about what the doctor will do with the information. Will he recommend a biopsy? What are the available treatment options? For healthy men, it's simply not clear how valuable the PSA test is," he says. "What often happens is that physicians order a PSA and then don't quite know what to do with abnormal results." Peschel follows his own advice. "I'm 65, and I had a conversation with my internist and elected not to go forward with the test."

That decision may become easier, Peschel notes. "One research effort is to discover the genetics behind prostate cancer," he says. "Our hope is that sometime in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to do a simple genetics test to decide whether or not to do a PSA and if it will be useful. Once we have a better hold on the genetic profile of prostate cancer, we'll know who needs testing on a regular basis."

Until then, notes Lee, the decision to have the test, have a biopsy if indicated and get treated or not is ultimately up to the patient. "I don't think it should be taken out of his hands."

You may also like:  Better outcomes with watchful waiting. >>

Nissa Simon, who lives in New Haven, Conn., writes about nutrition and medical issues.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advertisement