Tag Archives: Prostate Cancer

Cancer Remains Costly Even After The Disease Has Been Treated

HealthDay (1/13, Dotinga) reports that research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that cancer “remains costly even after the disease has been treated.” Investigators found, for instance, that “non-elderly survivors of colon cancer had extra expenses of about $20,000 annually.” The “extra expenses included direct medical costs, as well as lost productivity.” Meanwhile, for breast cancer survivors “under 65, the economic burden totaled about $14,000, and for prostate cancer it was approximately $9,000.”

PSA Testing and Cancer Diagnoses on Decline

The Washington Post (11/18, Bernstein) reports on two studies published in JAMA finding that in the wake of a finding by the US Preventive Services Task Force in 2012 that the prostate-specific antigen test “causes more harm than good,” that the number of tests and the number of prostate cancer diagnoses “have both declined sharply.” With testing of men 50 and older falling from 40.6 percent in 2008 to 30.8 percent in 2013, and prostate cancer diagnoses falling to 416.2 per 100,000 in 2012 from 534.9 per 100,000 in 2005.

The New York Times (11/18, Grady) reports that in one of the studies, the authors said that the decline in testing and diagnoses “could have significant public health implications,” but that it was not yet clear whether they would have an effect on death rates. JAMA also contains an editorial by Dr. David F. Penson, chairman of urologic surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, arguing that it may be time to reconsider the role of testing and urged a move to “smarter” screening by “focusing more on those at high risk.” In one study, American Cancer Society researchers focused on the decline in “early-stage diagnoses of prostate cancer” which they attributed to the decline in testing. The second study “also found a significant decline in PSA testing” in relation to the USPSTF recommendation.

 

NPR (11/18, Stein) reports in its “Shots” blog that the studies “don’t settle” the question of whether the USPSTF recommendation was sound, “but they do shed light on the effect” in that they show a decline in both screening and diagnoses. Dr. Brawley said the studies show “the American public actually did listen” to the recommendation.