Contact: Melissa Kadish, Press Secretary
firstname.lastname@example.org For Immediate Release
Oct 6, 2011
US Government Fails American Men in the Fight Against Prostate Cancer
Doctors Ignored on Decision to Not Support PSA Testing
Washington D.C. – Prostate cancer patients, survivors, advocates and physicians are calling for transparency as the United States Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel appointed by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, moves to eliminate prostate cancer testing for all men.
“Today's decision of no confidence on the PSA test by the U.S. Government condemns tens of thousands of men to die this year and every year going forward if families are to believe the out-of-date evidence presented by the USPSTF,” said Skip Lockwood, CEO of ZERO. “A decision on how best to test and treat for prostate cancer must be made between a man and his doctor. This decision is coming from a panel that doesn’t even include a urologist or medical oncologist.”
The new USPSTF guidelines rate PSA testing “D,” saying there is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits. This decision contradicts prostate cancer testing recommendations from medical and professional organizations, including the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American Urological Association.
Since the decision by the USPSTF in 2009 to change prostate cancer testing recommendations for men over the age of 75, no new research has been cited that would call for a drastic change in prostate cancer testing recommendations for all men.
Recent research confirms that the PSA test saves lives. The results of the Göteborg Randomized Population-based Prostate Cancer Screening Trial, released in July 2010, showed a 44 percent decline in prostate cancer deaths as a result of PSA testing. In this Swedish study, partially funded by the National Cancer Institute, an analysis of some 20,000 men was conducted during a 14-year period.
The PSA test and advances in treatment have led to a 40 percent reduction in prostate cancer deaths since the mid-1990s, and 90 percent of all prostate cancers are now discovered before they spread outside the gland. The survival rate is nearly 100 percent when prostate cancer is detected early, while the tumor is still localized and hasn’t spread.
Based on the new recommendations, insurers are unlikely to cover PSA testing going forward. Without PSA testing, there is no mechanism for early detection of prostate cancer, leaving thousands of men vulnerable and with no option to protect their health.
About ZERO — The Project to End Prostate Cancer (zerocancer.org)
At ZERO, we commit ourselves not only to reduce prostate cancer or alleviate the pain from the disease, but also to end it. We see a future where all men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer will be cured or manage their illness with good quality of life; with the support they need to minimize physical and emotional suffering, and to cope effectively throughout their cancer journey. To accomplish our goal, we provide comprehensive treatment information to patients, education to those at risk and conduct free prostate cancer testing throughout the country. We increase research funds from the federal government to find new treatments and we fund local grants to end the disease.