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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  March 13, 2004
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U.K. Expert Slams Prostate Testing
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A British expert says that prostate specific antigen (PSA), which can detect prostate cancer, is too unreliable and potentially harmful to be recommended to patients.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor Malcolm Law of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine says PSA should not be widely used because it's not clear whether the test actually benefits patients.

Men who test positive on a PSA test don't fare better than men whose prostate cancer is detected only when they start to experience symptoms. Law says public health officials shouldn't advocate tests of "unproven value."

He also states that, at present, the one certainty about PSA testing is that it often causes harm, BBC News Online reports.

"Some men will receive treatment that is unnecessary -- and the treatment will cause incontinence, impotence, and other complications," Law contends.

He notes that prostate cancer is often a slow-growing disease found in older men. Left untreated, many older men would die with the disease, not because of it, and not have to endure the ill effects of treatment for prostate cancer.


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