September 8, 2017
It’s one of the most controversial screening tests out there: the PSA, or the prostate-specific antigen test.
For years, the debate has raged on whether the blood test, which screens for prostate cancer, actually saves lives—and if you should be getting one on the regular.
Now, a new study provides evidence in favor of the screening: According to a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, getting PSA screening can cut your risk of dying from prostate cancer by up to 32 percent.
That’s what researchers concluded after analyzing data from two previous trials on men aged 55 to 69 and 55 to 74, totaling nearly 240,000 guys. While the methodologies were different, both studies showed a 25 to 32 percent decrease in prostate cancer deaths for men who had their PSA levels checked.
This newest study just provides further fuel to the PSA testing debate—experts have continued to change their minds for decades whether the screening was warranted and whether it should be recommended. Here's what you need to know
PSA screenings began in the 1980s, and by 2008, PSA screenings became standard for men ages 50 to 74. In 2009, the first in-depth studies on the effectiveness of PSA screenings took place and found the efficacy of PSA screenings inconclusive.
Then in 2012, the U.S. Preventative Task Force concluded that most men ages 55 to 69, except those with family histories or other high-risk factors, should not get PSA testing based on a pair of clinical trials that found screenings inconclusive in proving they saved lives, as we reported.
Fast forward to April 2017, when researchers reevaluated their recommendations on screenings and concluded that men between 55 to 69 should make individual decisions with the help of their doctor instead of completely forgoing testing based on age.
And now, instead of simply waiting to become "of prostate screening-age", the latest research analysis is encouraging men once again to get PSA screenings from age 55 to 69. According to researchers, men 70 and above the least likely to benefit from the screening because they have the least to gain when it comes to treatment.