Book looks at possible harm in prostate screening
What do pathologist Richard J. Ablin and science writer Ronald Piana think about routine PSA screening for prostate cancer? The title of their new book offers a pretty good clue: “The Great Prostate Hoax: How Big Medicine Hijacked the PSA Test and Caused a Public Health Disaster.”
The authors say that screenings for prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, result in “a million needle biopsies per year, leading to more than 100,000 radical prostatectomies, most of which are unnecessary” and whose side effects can include incontinence and impotence.
It's a familiar criticism, but Ablin is an unusual critic: He describes himself, and is often cited, as having discovered the antigen in 1970. (As is often the case in modern science, many independent researchers can claim some role in the discovery.)
The debate over the PSA test is ongoing, and experts are careful about what they say. The National Cancer Institute, for example, says, “Although some organizations continue to recommend PSA screening, there is widespread agreement that any man who is considering getting tested should first be informed in detail about the potential harms and benefits.” There's no doubt that any concerned man could get a powerful and passionate argument against the test from this book.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 dead in New Kensington shooting
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Steelers re-sign Keisel to bolster depth on defensive line
- Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles’ full-bore, no-huddle offense
- Fight over August Wilson Center triggers series of legal skirmishes
- All Pittsburgh Public Schools students to get free lunches starting this year.
- Run game not primary focal point for Steelers
- Steelers sign tackle Gilbert to $30 million deal
- Pitt, Penn State face competition for ticket sales
- Grand jury that heard testimony from Ravenstahl aides ends work
- Pittsburgh restaurants vie for title at Taste of the Championships