UPDATE: Physician Vehemently Opposes New Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines—Is He Right?

Cancer Misdiagnosis

I reported one or two weeks ago that the United States Preventative Services Task Force (“US PSTF”) said that healthy men should no longer get the prostate antigen-specific blood test for prostate cancer; one of the effective testing procedures. Additionally last week, I noted some of the instances of over-treatment by getting prostate biopsies that result in increased infections but do not always accurately diagnose the condition; this is exactly the justification used by the US PSTF. When these reports came out, I expressed great disdain for ending such preventative screening-including that for breast cancer.

Now the director of the New Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery, Dr. Randy Fagin, who is also a urologist and prostate cancer surgeon, has an issue with the US PSTF’s guidelines.

Particularly he noted that “[i]n the era before PSA testing, patients were typically diagnosed at a point that either they were never going to die of their cancer or there was nothing we could do about their cancer. It didn’t provide us a large opportunity to be able to cure those folks that sit in the middle. PSA testing provides us that opportunity.”

Moreover, Dr. Fagin aligns himself with the second part of my past argument as well. He specifically remarks that even though there is a high cost of this test and the potential for a false positive or infections, that the cost of saving a life cannot be enumerated. He says that “overtreating some individuals is worth the benefit you give to those folks who truly require it.”

Dr. Fagin does acknowledge that there are problems with the PSA test and it is far from perfect, and insight I do not have. But he also did note-something I also do not have-that he and other skilled urologists and specialists can make better decisions for the patient that could be potentially life-saving.

Overall, Dr. Fagin echoes everything that I have written and, essentially, he validates my legal opinions with his medical opinions. But what do you think? I would REALLY love to hear from you! Please post a comment and express your views!

If you have any questions or concerns please consult a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney.