Prostate Conditions Education Council Opposes US Preventative Services Task Force Recommendation

Contact: Wendy Poage
President, Prostate Conditions Education Council
(303) 316-4685
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Dana Conti
Jones Public Affairs
(617) 945-9316
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The Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC) – a national organization committed to men’s health and a leader in prostate cancer screening – today announced it strongly opposes the newly released recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). The draft guidance recommends against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer.

PCEC believes that until a more accurate and reliable diagnostic tool exists, the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) remain the safest routes to detecting the disease in its earliest stages – when it’s most treatable. The PSA test is one of the only tools men have to detect the second leading cause of cancer death among American men, and the USPSTF recommendations could limit access and wide-spread screening.

“As an organization that helps screen thousands of men annually and more than five million in the last 22 years, we have an up-close perspective: listening to men’s questions, educating them about the current screening tools and hearing about stories of survival,” said Wendy Poage, president of the Prostate Conditions Education Council. “Mortality rates have decreased with the onset of PSA screening and we cannot slip back to an era where all men were diagnosed with advanced disease because no screening was available. While we applaud USPSTF for bringing this issue to a national discussion, we believe that the pendulum has moved too far and that corrections need to be made to help patients navigate this important public health issue.”

PCEC’s specific recommendations include:

Separating Diagnosis Issue From Treatment Decision Making
PCEC believes that the treatment decision making process should be the key area of focus for debate, not the issue of screening. Over-treatment of prostate conditions should be addressed through greater doctor-patient communication regarding appropriate diagnostic options and treatments to determine the right action based on the patient.

Increasing Access to Advanced Diagnostic Technology
New technologies including the Transperineal 3D Mapping Biopsy are allowing physicians to better understand the stage and gravity of the cancer in order to make more informed treatment decisions.  Experts agree that prostate staging biopsies will yield better understanding of the extent and aggressiveness of the disease in patients. This information allows physicians to develop individualized treatment plans for patients.
Expedite U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Review of New Diagnostics
The FDA should encourage the development of new diagnostic and screening tools by expediting review of all promising prostate cancer diagnostic tests. The FDA is currently reviewing the Prostate Health Index which may provide additional context to patients risk for an aggressive form of cancer.

Encourage a Focus on Men’s Overall Health
Many prostate screening locations also offer testing for cholesterol and testosterone, as many factors play into overall men’s health awareness and a man’s risk for prostate cancer.  PCEC screening sites are equipped with a variety of free informational materials that help guide men in improving their overall health condition.

About Prostate Conditions Education Council
A national organization committed to men’s health, the Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC) is the nation’s leading resource for information on prostate health.  The PCEC is dedicated to saving lives through awareness and the education of men, the women in their lives, as well as the medical community about prostate cancer prevalence, the importance of early detection, and available treatment options, as well as other men’s health issues.  The Council – comprised of a consortium of leading physicians, health educators, scientists and prostate cancer advocates – aims to conduct nation wide screenings for men and perform research that will aid in the detection and treatment of prostate conditions.  More information is available at www.prostateconditions.org.