PSA Tests Useless for 98 Percent of Men
If you’re thinking of getting a PSA test, you need to see what the latest research shows.
That’s because a huge new study shows that PSA tests aren’t just useless…but can ruin your life too.
The study was headed up by Dr. Philip Prorok. He leads research for the US National Cancer Institute.
“PSAs don’t result in any benefit,” he says. But they do cause “harm from false positives and over diagnosis.”
You can read his full report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The new findings are just more proof of what we’ve been telling you for years. The screenings are not an accurate test for prostate cancer. And worse, they start the ball rolling for millions of men to wind up needlessly impotent or incontinent.
Even the doctor who discovered the test now calls it “a profit-driven public health disaster.”
And the Stanford University urology expert who wrote the first paper supporting it back in 1987 now says “we must find a new cancer marker.”
That’s because he’s spent the last 25 years doing follow-up research. And he now says PSA tests only help two percent of men.
For the other 98 percent, they flag up benign prostate enlargement (BPH), but “have no relationship to cancer.”
16-Year Study Shows PSA Tests Do Nothing to Save Lives
The new study looked at men from 1993 to 2009. They were between 55 and 74.
Dr. Prorok and his team compared the results for men who got the test against those who didn’t.
And at the end of the study he found two things.
- There was a 12 percent increase in prostate cancer cases in the screened group.
- There was no difference in deaths between the two groups.
So why are these results so important?
“PSA testing did not reduce prostate cancer mortality,” he says. “But there was a persistent excess of prostate cancer cases in the screened arm, suggesting over-diagnosis of prostate cancer.”
He says the results mean only one thing. The test picks up slow-growing tumors that aren’t lethal.
In other words, if you get a PSA test, you may be one of the millions of men treated for prostate cancer, when you don’t need to be.
And those treatments can leave you impotent or incontinent.
Five Other Trials Show PSA Tests Don’t Do Any Good
Another study on PSA tests was published late last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
It was headed up by Dr. Roger Chou. He’s a top cancer researcher at the Oregon Health and Science University.
He looked at the findings from the five best trials on PSA screenings published up to that date. These trials included research from top-notch groups including the Cochrane Library Database. And as we’ve told you before, that’s considered the gold standard in scientific research.
The first study looked at 76,693 men over seven years. All of them were between 55 and 74 years – the same age group Dr. Prorok studied.
After seven years of follow-up, the study got the exact same results as the latest study.
It found that PSA tests “increased prostate cancer incidence” but had “no effect on prostate cancer mortality.”
In other words, lots more men going through life-changing cancer treatments…but no extra lives saved.
The next study looked at 182,000 men from seven countries. This one ran for about a decade. Again, it found lots more cases of prostate cancer, but no difference in prostate cancer deaths.
So the study repeats the same message.
Get the screening…don’t get the screening. It comes to the same amount of men dying from prostate cancer.
The results were the same for the other three trials he looked at.
There was “no difference between screening and control groups in prostate cancer mortality risk.”
What these findings boil down to is that PSA screenings result in “overdiagnosis of low-risk cancers that would not have caused death during a man’s lifetime.”
And he also puts together some data about the consequences of this.
“Overtreatment of such cancers expose men to unnecessary harms,” he says.
He found that overdiagnosis was “as high as 50 percent.”
And says about 48 men have to be treated for prostate cancer to prevent one death.
If you’re one of the other 47 men…you’ll get no benefit from the ordeal. And it may change your life.
He reported the following three findings from his research:
- One out of every three men treated with prostatectomy ended up with erectile dysfunction (ED).
- One out of seven treated with radiation therapy wound up with ED.
- One out of five men treated with prostatectomy suffered urinary incontinence.
Experts Speak Out About Findings
Plenty of experts have reviewed these studies. And several are speaking out about them.
“We have put a huge amount of time, effort and energy into PSA screening,” says Dr. Virginia Moyer of the Baylor College of Medicine. “That passion should be going into finding a better test instead of using a test that doesn’t work.”
Dr. Thomas Schwenk, dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, agrees.
“I think this recommendation is long overdue,” he says.
And Dr. William Golden says the new findings come as no surprise to him. He’s a professor of medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
“This advisory mirrors my advice to patients over the last 10 years,” he says. “I have long believed that prostate cancer has a cure worse than the disease.”
But not all experts are convinced. In fact, some doctors are disappointed by the findings.
Dr. Pat Walsh of Johns Hopkins University is one of them. He’s made a good living out of prostate surgery and calls the findings, “a shame.”
And some experts are still defending PSA tests.
Dr. Leonard Gomella says the findings are an “appalling affront to all men.”
While Dr. William Catalona of Northwestern Memorial Hospital just dismisses them.
“The extent to which PSA screening causes over diagnosis and overtreatment is exaggerated,” he simply says.
“Test is Hardly More Effective Than a Coin Toss!”
But the two men behind PSAs both agree that the screenings cause more harm than good.
Dr. Thomas Stamey is the Stanford urologist who first promoted the PSA test in a medical paper. Back then he believed that PSA levels might be a good flag for prostate cancer.
But that was 25 years ago. He’s continued to look into PSA tests and now says his early findings were too hopeful.
He says the problem is that PSA tests flag up too many false positives. In fact, a high PSA score is more likely to do with the natural swelling of an aging man’s prostate, than cancer. And it’s not just a theory. He’s published his research in the peer-reviewed Journal of Oncology.
“We show that PSA is related to only benign enlargement of the prostate,” he says. “PSA today no longer has any relationship to cancer except for two percent of men.”
The man who discovered PSA, back in 1970, agrees. His name is Dr. Richard Ablin. And he’s gone on to lead research at the University of Arizona.
“The test simply reveals how much antigen a man has in his blood,” he says.
And he supports what Dr. Stamey says.
“Benign swelling of the prostate can elevate a man’s PSA levels,” he says.
So too can infections and drugstore pain killers.
“PSA testing can’t detect prostate cancer,” he says blunty. “The test is hardly more effective than a coin toss.”
But the PSA test is the first link in a chain of events that lead to biopsies…treatment…and sometimes impotence.
And it’s the overdiagnosis and treatment that’s the real problem.
That’s because prostate cancer obviously is very real. Plenty of men have it. But in most cases it’s slow spreading and won’t be the thing that kills them.
About 16 percent of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but only three percent will die from it.
“The majority of prostate cancers grow slowly,” says Dr. Ablin. “Men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with it than die of it.”
That’s why he says we “must stop the use of PSA screening and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatments.”
Biological Switch is Key to Prostate Health
The best way to protect your prostate health is to take matters into your hands.
We’re putting together a big report on how to do this. It includes a whole lifestyle protocol that protects your prostate through diet, exercise and other holistic practices. It also includes information about a botanical formula that’s been shown to boost prostate health in three peer-reviewed journals.
In the meantime, emerging research shows that one of the biggest factors in prostate cancer has to do with your hormones.
You see, young men have lots of testosterone and only small amounts of estrogen. But as they age they generate more estrogen and less testosterone.
Now as you know, prostate cancer is an older man’s problem. It very rarely affects young men. And that’s why so many forward-thinking doctors think this biological switch is one of the biggest factors behind it.
We’ve told you before about some good ways to balance your hormones and get that ratio back to where it used to be when you were young.
But the first step is visiting your doctor. They can run up a report to see if your hormones are out of balance. And if they are, it’s easy to balance them.
One thing you can do is resistance training. It’s a good way to boost testosterone naturally. And your leg muscles produce the most testosterone in your body. So you’ll want to start doing leg curls, squats and lunges.
There are also plenty of foods that can boost testosterone. Good examples include fish, eggs and red meat. That’s because they’re loaded with protein. And protein increases testosterone.
But just remember, to get the best benefits go for the most healthy options. Forget about processed meats and farm-raised fish. Instead, opt for wild-caught salmon and organic, hormone-free meat.
Wishing you good natural health,
Editorial Director, NHD “Health Watch”