PSA Tests Useless for 98 Percent of Men

In Featured Article, General Health by INH Research20 Comments

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.

  1. There was a 12 percent increase in prostate cancer cases in the screened group.
  2. 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:

  1. One out of every three men treated with prostatectomy ended up with erectile dysfunction (ED).
  2. One out of seven treated with radiation therapy wound up with ED.
  3. 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,

angela salerno

Ian Robinson,

Editorial Director, NHD “Health Watch”


  1. Hi -I have been told to do a biopsy for 12 years. I have very large prostate and I am 65. My psa was 6.3 -2 years ago. I take flomax and now proscar to shrink prostate. I had an MRI and no tumors present and use a cathera once at nite to empty my bladder, which is trebculated. I feel uncomfortable to go ahead and do a biopsy. I know there’s chance of infection along with other problems. I eat healthy and am generally in good health. But I’m not ready to hang up my sex life. I will take a psa test to keep tabs and had a cystascope test. Even cathera use can raise psa levels. At Kaiser, doctors are anxiuos to do treatments.

  2. Author

    Hi Alan,
    I can totally appreciate why you’re uncomfortable about getting a biopsy. There is plenty of research which shows that biopsies can cause infections, fever, pain and psychological stress. We actually wrote about this a long time ago. You can check out that information here. I am putting together the finishing touches on our monthly newsletter today and tomorrow. It’ll be out the end of next week. It’s all about prostate health and tells you the right foods to eat to improve your prostate. It also gives you info on why exercise is important and how acupuncture may even help men. There’s also info on a really impressive botanical formula that’s been put together by a very credible doctor. He’s had his formulas clinical tested three times in studies and it seems to stand up to scrutiny. So keep an eye out for that newsletter later in March.

  3. I have had a biopsy. I now have to live with pain killers.The severe, severe is not strong enough a word, pain seems to be at the end of my penis. If I am walking I have to stand paralysed till the bout goes away. I walk my two dogs three times a day and every time I get a bout. But it happens at home, so the dogs give me strength to soldier on.
    Is this an acceptable symptom?

  4. Author

    Hi Tom.
    I’m so sorry to hear about your prostate concerns. You have some severe symptoms and I’d certainly urge you to speak to your doctor or trained medical consultant for advice. Obviously, also be sure to continue to eat foods that promote good prostate health like tomatoes. Several clinical studies show that eating vegetables ev¬eryday improves prostate health. Some of the most effective ones are cabbage, broc¬coli and cauliflower.
    Best of luck,

  5. Hi there. Just had a PSA test. It’s 0.64. I had radiotherapy without surgery in 2008 when my PSA was about 29 and a biopsy showed my prostate had 75% cancer malignancy. I’m confused by the article where it says that INSUFFICIENT testosterone is the problem. My doctors told me the OPPOSITE and prescribed male hormone BLOCKERS for the last 4 years. 3 months ago I stopped taking these because I didn’t like the feminising side effects which I won’t go into here. Why these opposing opinions on the effect of hormones? – Best of health to all, Chris

    1. I had the hormone therapy for 3 months and I quit because of severe side effects, constant waves of heat and cold. I mean I could make my shirt wet in seconds and after that I was shivering of cold. Besides, I felt being washed out of all emotions, what to me was like being emotionally dead. The therapy works, my psa factor was zero, but in one month after I quit it got back to high values. I wasn’t told about any side effects by the oncologist. On the Internat I found, that this therapy is effective for the most of 3 years. What next, I asked, maybe chemo or radiation, he said.

  6. Author

    Hi Chris!
    There’s a really good reason for why there’s so much confusion over this issue. First, there’s a big difference between free testosterone and total testosterone and how your levels of those affect your prostate health. But there’s also a long history behind why conventional doctors are wary of too much testosterone and link it to prostate problems. It goes back to the 1940’s and a doctor called Charles Huggins. Until this point, plenty of researchers – including ones from Oxford University (in 1934) – believed testosterone promoted good prostate health. But Dr. Huggins’s research changed all that in the intervening decade. It’s only in recent years that modern researchers – including Dr. Abraham Morgentaler – have found that Huggins’s research on testosterone has been taken as gospel…and that the research could actually be interpreted completely differently. We wrote about this a while back. If you’re interested in hearing more about it, check out our story here.
    Hope this helps!

  7. Proper references supporting these opinions were not supplied. Why not?

  8. My PSA Test was useful for alerting me to possible cancer, which later proved true. However, I did not do a biopsy as it can spread the cancer. Also infection potential, etc. Moreover up to one-third of prostate biopsies miss the cancer. For a final cancer ID I suggest trying non-invasive cancer tests such as Navarro, Amas, Red Drop and others. These are not generally recognized by the medical community, but are much more accurate (Navarro is 92%-95%) and safer.

  9. I am 71, have been eating 2 brazil nuts per day for the past 10 years. My PSA reading has gone down from 0.9 two years ago to 0.7 today. It’s the selenium in the brazil nuts that has the anti-carcinogenic effect, I think. The only side effect is a slight longitudinal ridging of the fingernails. Just for information.

  10. Hello All!!!

    My father 65 years underwent PSA test twice. First test had a value of 5 and then second test conducted after approx 2 weeks showed PSA of 11. I have read several articles on PSA and now I am not sure what step to take next. My father is going to visit the doctor in couple of days. Also he has diabetes, high blood pressure and enlarged prostate.

    I just want to make sure that he does not have any cancer related thing due to this high PSA level. I do not want him to undergo pains of biopsy and other treatment but without these how can I be sure that his high level of PSA is not dangerous for him. Please suggest what to do next. I will be highly grateful to you

  11. Hi Ian, I am 50 years of age, 51 in May. I went for a company health screen at the end of January and it picked up I had a PSA of 4.9 and a free PSA of .56. I have been to my doctor who has recommended a further blood test due to the accuracy of the test? I am due to receive the results back this week.

    The clinic who took the blood samples, wanted me to see a Urologist with them very quickly, but I decided to follow my GP’s advice and reading the stories I am very confused……

    Are you able to offer me any advice at this stage?

    Best regards and many thanks

  12. A Belt MRI is mri for the prostate and if there is a tumor on your prostate a targeted Biopsy can be done to go directly to the tumor not the usual biopsy which takes several samples in a pattern and still miss the tumor..I’ve had 2 biopsies that completely missed the tumor..the belt mri showed the tumor and the targeted biopsy result was cancerous..I am currently doing alternative..there’s a lot..

  13. I am 71 years of age in January 2016. I underwent Brachytherapy 10 years ago. Now my PSA is rising and the oncologist at the Veterans Administration wants me to go on eligard. I am very confused about the lack of other treatments available. VA oncologist says its the only way to go. I am skeptical. What do you say?

  14. Hello

    Please advise me if u have any experiences about the position I have right now, I am a 56 yrs old now, 3 yrs ago my PSA was over 5 and doctor send to test digitally and then Biopsy result came, out of 11 sample 3 sample got 25% positive other all r Negatives. 3 month ago I went my doctor/hospital send again for biopsy where found, out of 16 samples 3 were 60-70% percent positive other all r negatives, Doctor suggest me to go MRI which result I do not know yet, almost one month ago I did in Princes Mergarate Hospital Doctor told if MRI result is too much then maybe do Surgery. My present PSI is within 4. I am healthy, I do not feel any problem for sex or Urine but I am scared what ganna happen next,Any experienced person who gone through may advice or suggestion would high appreciates.

    Jibon Chy

  15. I have a very high psa level of 152 and the doctor said I have about 3 to 6 weeks to live. I have change my eating ways and stop all sugars and I do not agree with the doctors as I feel good .but do have some pain in my stomic in the lower belly and also have hernia in the belly button

    1. It just goes top show how clueless doctors are to give verdicts like that based solely on the PSA reading… Sorry for harsh words, but the doctor who told you that is clearly an idiot.

  16. Hi Ian,
    My name is Peter and I am 65 years old. I consider my self as healthy, I have a healthy diet and I am not a smoker. I went to the doctor for routine blood tests. Everything was ok but my doctor said that PSA was unusually high (it was 7) and he suggested to see an urologist. The urologist sent me for an MRI and then he did a sextant biopsy which revealed that according to the pathologist I have adenocarcinoma in 4 out of the 6 cores. He rated those as 3+4 (7) on Gleason score. He strongly suggests that I have to do a prostatectomy to remove the whole prostate! In the meantime, I do not have any symptom or other problem to bother me or to believe that I need to remove my prostate. What is your opinion on this?

  17. my present prostate reading is 28.9. 83 years old and am very concerned about a biopsy. I will not take radiation or chemo, so what are my chances and can I lower m psa level by taking essiac tea

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