ASTRO criticizes task force's PSA recommendations

June 13, 2012

The American Society for Radiation Oncology expressed disappointment in the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's (USPSTF) final recommendations against the use of PSA-based screening for prostate cancer and strongly cautions against a blanket no-testing policy.

The American Society for Radiation Oncology expressed disappointment in the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) final recommendations against the use of PSA-based screening for prostate cancer and strongly cautions against a blanket no-testing policy.

In a statement, ASTRO said it acknowledges that PSA screening is not a perfect method of detecting prostate cancer, but adds that the 30% decline in mortality from prostate cancer over the past 30 years is due in part to better screening.

"The problem with prostate cancer is not finding the cancer but in knowing when to treat and when not to treat," said Leonard L. Gunderson, MD, MS, chairman of ASTRO. "The USPSTF is correct in addressing the issue of over-screening but is wrong to take the option completely off the table."

The organization emphasized the importance of leaving the decision to screen between the patient and the clinician.

"We should be accurately explaining the risks and benefits and letting patients decide on such an important issue as this," said Howard Sandler, MD, MS, a radiation oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "The USPSTF recommendation is one-size-fits-all, and our nation is made up of millions of men with individual views about prostate cancer and screening."

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