MSTERDAM — To the ongoing debate over whether routine screening for prostate cancer reduces prostate cancer mortality comes a new analysis that suggests that it does more harm than good.
The total harms that men experience in terms of impotence, incontinence, and other side effects from prostate cancer treatment can severely affect their quality of life, lead author Mathieu Boniol, MD, said here at the European Cancer Conference 2013 (ECCO-ESMO-ESTRO).
Dr. Boniol and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature for data on results of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, biopsy rates, and mortality/associated side effects from radical prostatectomy, as well as hospitalization rates associated with biopsy. They also used data from the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer, which is the study showing the most favorable outcomes for PSA screening.
Overall, they found that the harms outweigh the benefits on a population level. This should further discourage the use of routine PSA testing for prostate cancer in the general population, Dr. Boniol said.