Cancer is a serious disease, but in general the earlier it is caught, the better a person’s prognosis will be. When it comes to prostate cancer, however, there has been much confusion about screening, as guidelines and recommendations on this topic have gone back and forth from one thing to another. However, according to data found in the Annals of Internal Medicine, prostate cancer screening does save lives, leading to a 32 percent downturn in fatalities due to the disease when compared to those who do not go through prostate cancer screening.
Going back as far as the 1980s, it was recommended that men get a yearly blood test to determine if they carry prostate specific antigens (PSA). However, because prostate cancer tumors do not grow very quickly, it is often the case that even if a person has prostate cancer, he or she will ultimately die due to a different cause entirely. Therefore, as of 2012, at least one task force has determined that men between the ages of 55 to 69 need not get PSA testing unless they are a high-risk individual or there is a family history of prostate cancer.
That being said, data examined by two new studies led to the conclusion that PSA testing does save lives. According to one of these studies, PSA testing led to a decrease in prostate cancer fatalities ranging from 25 percent to 32 percent when compared to those who did not undergo PSA testing.
Any form of cancer, of course, can be debilitating. Whether a person is able to have the tumor removed through surgery, or whether they’ll need radiation or chemotherapy, what is certain is that both the disease and the treatments can disable a person. While early detection is key to a positive outcome, unfortunately not everyone is so lucky as to catch their cancer at an early stage. Those who are suffering from a late stage cancer and are left unable to work, may want to determine if they can seek Social Security disability benefits for illness.
Source: TIME, “Getting Tested for Prostate Cancer May Be Worth It After All,” Alice Park, Sept. 5, 2017