Although a recommendation against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing in men was made back in 2012, this move does not mean that our men are in the clear, particularly considering the numbers for survival rates of Black men in relation to advanced prostate cancer diagnoses.
Advanced prostate cancer cases appear to be on the rise, although government reports have shown an overall decline in prostate cancers over the past two decades.
According to Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Professor of Radiology Oncology at Harvard Medical School, the spike in advanced prostate cancers are a consequence of going against prostate cancer screening with PSA testing for men.
In 2012, the United States (U.S.) Preventative Task Force recommended an end to PSA screening due to the possible side effects and false-positive test results, which lead to unnecessary tests and prostate biopsies.
The effects of the prostate biopsies include bleeding, pain, and serious infections. In addition, men with elevated PSA levels end up not having prostate cancer after all, with only about 25% having prostate cancer once the biopsy is done.
The expectation for such a recommendation against PSA testing meant that cancer death rates would increase, as well as cancer that has spread (metastases, also known as Stage 4 cancer).
What occurs is the spread of cancer from the prostate to distant parts of the body, and it may take years after the initial diagnosis or after the cancer has initially been treated or removed.
D’Amico noted, upon the 2012 recommendation, that around 2015 to 2016, the increased instances of distant metastases would be more evident; around 2018 to 2019, cancer death rates would begin to increase.