The main change in the new guidance for prostate cancer screening is the emphasis that the decision of whether or not to be tested must be individualized for each man aged 55 to 69 years.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) previously recommended against routine screening using the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, saying that potential harms outweigh benefits.
That recommendation – issued in 2012 – was met with outrage, especially from urologists, who predicted that prostate cancer cases would be diagnosed at a more advanced stage and that prostate cancer deaths would increase.
Now the task force has changed its tune. The new draft recommendations –issued on April 11 and open for public comments until May 8― divide men into two age groups.
For men aged 55-69 years, the task force says that the potential benefits and harms of PSA-based screening are closely balanced. The decision about whether to be screened should be an individual one and should be discussed with clinicians.
This is a C recommendation, which according to USPSTF definitions means "there is at least moderate certainty that the net benefit is small."