Latest Update: As signatures spread our voice is heard! Historic legislation passes the South Carolina House & Senate. Read full petition below for detailed coverage.
In the United States, approximately 240,000 men are diagnosed annually with prostate cancer and approximately 40,000 men die from it. Prostate cancer represents the most commonly diagnosed solid organ tumor in men and the second most lethal cause of death.
Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government advisory panel, recommended that doctors stop using the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test as a means to screen men regardless of age, risk factors and ethnicity. Unfortunately, no urologist, medical oncologist or radiation oncologist was allowed to sit on this committee which consisted of primary care physicians and researchers. No physicians that consistently takes care of men with prostate cancer was a part of this team. The panel disregarded the long term studies with larger populations which showed a significant reduction in disease specific mortality with the use of PSA and laid their faith on a few poorly constructed short term studies on which to base their conclusions.
My name is Dr. Vipul Patel, and I'm one of the world's foremost prostate cancer surgeons and the founder of the International Prostate Cancer Foundation. I believe that this recommendation could mean a death sentence for thousands of men around the world. That's why I'm asking the task force to review this recommendation and include a prostate cancer expert on the panel.
I'm not alone. In a resolution passed on June 19, the American Medical Association expressed concern over the recommendation and the lack of expert involvement in the decision. They also cited the task force's simliar decision advising against mammograms for women.
The PSA test has been used for routine screening and the detection of prostate cancer since the early 90s. It is a simple blood-based test that is ordered for men over 40 as part of routine blood work on an annual basis. Not all prostate cancers are deadly and the PSA test is not perfect but there has been a 40% reduction in mortality from prostate cancer since the inception of PSA testing. Many large trials have shown a significant risk reduction in mortality secondary to early screening of men with PSA.
Since the inception of the screening, the death rate from prostate cancer has reduced consistently every year. I believe that the removal of PSA testing from the healthcare profile of men will increase the diagnosis of advanced disease and the mortality rate from prostate cancer.
We need to demand that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reconsider their decision that doctors no longer offer PSA screening for prostate cancer to men.
The picture featured on this petition is of one of my patients, U.S. Army Master Sgt. Karim Mella after he climbed Mt. Everest. Shortly after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer through a PSA test.
Historic legislation changes the tide as we come one step closer to eradicating prostate cancer.
As of March 12th 2013, the South Carolina House has passed a resolution petitioning the United States Congress – to seek withdrawal of the USPSTF recommendations against PSA screening. Having successfully passed the South Carolina Senate in February of this year, the combined concurrence leaves us with a positive outlook for change!
Expressed gratitude is due to Senator Nikki Setzler of South Carolina for his continued support in facilitating progress. As an advocate he extends the following:
“… I think it sends the wrong message when our citizens are discouraged from seeking early detection of life-threatening diseases. Knowledge is power. Informed patients guided by knowledgeable, competent physicians can make the best choices about their health care and treatment options. I am a living testament of that…” – Nikki Setzler