Yesterday, the USPSTF updated its 2012 position on prostate cancer screening recommending that clinicians should selectively offer or provide periodic prostate-specific antigen (PSA)–based screening for prostate cancer for men between the ages of 55 to 69 (C recommendation). The USPSTF maintained its recommendation against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in men 70 years and older (D recommendation).

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research, issued the following statement on the 2018 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) final recommendation on PSA-based screening for prostate cancer.

This statement is attributable to PCF Medical Director, Stuart Holden, MD:

“The Prostate Cancer Foundation believes that every man should be able to talk with his doctor about whether prostate cancer screening is right for him. We commend the USPSTF for concluding that the decision to undergo routine PSA-based screening in men aged 55 to 69 should be an individual one that includes a discussion of the potential benefits and harms of screening.

As the largest source of philanthropic support for prostate cancer research, PCF applauds the Task Force for heightening awareness around the increased risk prostate cancer poses for African American men and the alarming disparities in prostate cancer mortality among African American men. PCF believes this is unacceptable and joins USPSTF in the call to action around making this area of research a national priority.

In that the 2018 USPSTF recommendation clearly identifies African American men and men with a family of history of prostate cancer having a higher risk for prostate cancer and provides additional information to help support these men in making informed decisions about screening, PCF agrees with this recommendation and provides additional guidance for early detection in our comprehensive Prostate Cancer Patient Guide.

We reiterate our position that for men with a family history of lethal prostate cancer in a first-degree relative, the age at which a conversation with a health provider to discuss the potential benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening should begin at the age of 40. In the African American community, as early as age 45, we encourage men to pay attention to their prostate health and prostate cancer risk and take the opportunity to talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening.

Above all, PCF believes there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to screening, and while we generally support the recommendation made by USPSTF against prostate cancer screening in men over the age of 70, we acknowledge that this age-based recommendation may not be appropriate for all men over the age of 70 and advocate for a personalized approach that takes into account health, values and preferences. More research is needed to further illuminate the benefits and harms associated with screening in men above the age of 70.

At the Prostate Cancer Foundation, we thank the USPSTF for the opportunity to engage patient and medical research organizations to solicit feedback in the recommendation-making process. We appreciate USPSTF’s efforts to prioritize enhanced transparency in its activities and decision-making in order to improve the health of all Americans.

PCF has always stressed that the question of screening is a personal and complex one. It’s important for each man to talk with his doctor about whether prostate cancer screening is right for him, and know their risk factors, such as race – most importantly African-American men who are disproportionately affected by this disease – and family history, to help make the decision right for them.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation provides much-needed funding to support researchers who are at the forefront of devising pioneering solutions needed to find life-extending and life-saving therapies in prostate cancer, and is dedicated to identifying new biotechnologies and funding discovery of new tests that are more specific for detecting life-threatening prostate cancers far earlier than the PSA test. Visit pcf.org to learn more about PCF’s efforts and donate to help save the lives of those suffering from prostate cancer.”