The PSA blood test has long been a standard screening tool for prostate cancer, even though we know it's not 100% accurate. Often, a man's PSA level is high, but not because of prostate cancer.
On the flip side, the PSA could miss a cancer in its earliest stages. Those are reasons why a new Stanford study questions whether the PSA should be used for screening. The report is coming up in the October issue of The Journal of Urology and already the very suggestion is sparking a lot of controversy.
"Well, that's ridiculous. PSA has made a quantum leap in our diagnosis, treatment, management of patients with prostate cancer," says Dr. Mark Soloway, urologist.
Dr. Soloway says the PSA is at least the best we got right now, and it's here to stay until something better comes along. Meanwhile, the National Prostate Cancer Coalition says men who ignore regular prostate screenings are putting their lives at risk.
The coalition suggests that by age 50 men should receive a digital rectal exam every year and a PSA test in conjunction with that as recommended by their doctor, or earlier if there is a family history of the disease.