Health in Perspective: African-American Men Shortchanged by Recent Prostate Cancer Report

(Washington Informer) Prostate cancer continues to remain the leading cause of cancer in men in the United States. Over 30 thousand men are estimated to die of prostate cancer this year alone. Also, for reasons that are not completely understood, African-American men are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.5 times likely to die of the disease. The PSA test is a blood test that measures prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate gland. An increase in the PSA level is often the only sign of early prostate cancer. The PSA test is also valuable in following patients after treatment.

A recent report published in The Annals of Internal Medicine by a U.S. Preventative Services Task Force Committee stated that PSA testing should no longer be performed routinely on men in the United States. The task force came to this decision based on studies performed in the United States and Europe suggesting that prostate cancer screening does not appear to improve survival in patients with this disease.

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