Prostate Cancer Screening

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Story Updated: Apr 10, 2013

For men over 50...the PSA, or prostate specific antigen test, is often dreaded.

It's been used for years as one of the few ways to screen for prostate cancer... but there's been increasing debate over its usefulness.

New recommendations have just been released by the American College of Physicians ...suggesting that men between the ages of 50 and 69 discuss the limited benefits and substantial harms of the PSA test with their doctor before getting screened.

The association says problems interpreting the test results have been a big issue. PSA results are sometimes high because of an enlarged prostate...not because of cancer. Or results may come back low, even when cancer is present.

According to the experts, the vast majority of prostate cancers are slow growing and do not cause death. Yet, side effects from aggressive treatment can be life-changing including incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com