The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

A PSA for PSAs

As a retired urologist having practiced 35 years in Richmond, I am gravely concerned by the new recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. These recommendations do a great disservice to men around the country, particularly those with a higher risk of the disease (e.g., African-American men, those with a family history of the disease, those who are underinsured and those who live in rural areas with limited health care access).

The decision to be tested for prostate cancer is an individual decision that men should discuss with their physicians; there is no single standard that applies to all men, nor should there be. No one can dispute that the PSA test has limitations, but when used and interpreted appropriately the test provides valuable information in the diagnosis, pre-treatment staging, risk assessment and monitoring of prostate cancer patients.

The American Urological Association notes that the best decisions regarding prostate cancer testing come from individualized discussions between a man and his urologist. It would be barbaric to universally dismiss the PSA test before a suitable alternative to prostate cancer diagnosis is available. There are many men in this community who would tell you that a PSA test saved their life.

Bill Tunner\n MD, FACS, Albemarle County