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Screening changes in prostate cancer may affect early detection

Nov 20, 2015 | Failure to Diagnose

New York residents who are concerned with recent changes in recommendations for breast cancer screening might want to consider the latest statistics related to another cancer screening scenario. The instances of prostate cancer screenings were more frequent prior to a change in recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. In 2012, the group announced that there might be more harm than good coming from systematic screening for prostate cancer. Among the issues of concern was the fact that most cancers being detected were slow-growing. In fact, more men died of other issues after a diagnosis of prostate cancer than actually died of prostate cancer at the time of this change.

Now that several years have passed since this relaxed view of prostate screening was promoted, statistics indicate a potential connection between the announcement and reduced screening and early detection numbers. Early detection has decreased among men 50 years of age or older, but health professionals are concerned that this is simply because nearly 20 percent fewer men in this group are being screened. Although this may be a positive outcome due to health care providers and patients making informed decisions about screening, there is a concern that some men are simply not being offered the option to have PSA screening.

Those in high-risk groups might deal with advanced cancer due to a delayed diagnosis because of a lack of screening. Experts contend that men should remain informed about their risks of prostate cancer to ensure that they are able to participate in the decision-making process for cancer issues such as screening.

A diagnosis of cancer might be worrisome, but early detection is often viewed as a means of limiting the potential for adverse outcomes. However, failure to diagnose cancer may have different legal implications based on whether a patient or doctor is more responsible for avoiding the early screening process. A man who is found to have prostate cancer and whose health care provider had previously not discussed the screening option might want to discuss the situation with a medical malpractice attorney.