The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) continues to support the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening as a valuable tool for identifying prostate disease, according to a press release issued by the foundation in response to a statement issued by the American Cancer Society.

The PCF also highlights the importance of thorough discussion about PSA data and treatment options with prostate cancer patients. “Every man has the right to know if he has cancer and to make informed decisions with his urologist,” said Jonathan Simons, president and CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “This requires a thorough dialog between patients, family members, and urologists that weights the pros and cons of screening and treatment options.”

The PCF, according to the press release detailing the foundations stance, supports the guidelines laid out by the American Urological Association that call for a baseline PSA screening at age 40 years and then a follow up strategy developed by the physician and patient based on the patient’s specific health status and family history

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“Unfortunately, public debate has focused mostly on the limitations of the PSA blood test rather than improving processes for informing patients. We should not throw this proverbial baby out with the bath water,” explained Mr. Simons. “PCF-funded researchers are making crucial progress in identifying new biomarkers that could one day make the PSA test obsolete. Until new diagnostics are available, we need to guard against telling patients not to be screened. Discussions of early detection of prostate cancers, when they are best treated, are imperative.”

The PCF has also called for more funding for identifying better biomarkers, claiming that having the ability to distinguish between lethal and non-lethal or indolent varieties of prostate cancer might have saved an estimated $30 billion dollars between 1986 and 2005.