Evidence 'insufficient' for routine prostate cancer screening

February 28, 2008

The American College of Preventive Medicine has found there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine population prostate cancer screening with digital rectal examination or PSA. The college has issued a practice policy statement advising clinicians caring for men, particularly African-American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer, to provide them with information about the potential benefits and harms of screening and the limits of current evidence to allow these patients to make an informed decision about screening (Am J Prev Med 2008; 34:164-70).

The American College of Preventive Medicine has found there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine population prostate cancer screening with digital rectal examination or PSA. The college has issued a practice policy statement advising clinicians caring for men, particularly African-American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer, to provide them with information about the potential benefits and harms of screening and the limits of current evidence to allow these patients to make an informed decision about screening (Am J Prev Med 2008; 34:164-70).

“Patient and clinician discussion about screening is important; however, a man should ultimately be allowed to make his own decision about screening while taking into consideration personal preferences and life expectancy,” said lead author Lionel Lim, MD. “If the patient prefers to defer to the clinician or is unable to make a decision regarding screening, then testing should not be offered as long as the patient understands the associated benefits, potential limitations, and adverse effects.”

The college indicated that it will continue to review emerging evidence “to determine and communicate the most effective methods to detect and prevent the disease.”