According to statistics compiled by the American Cancer Society, nearly 242,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. In fact, besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among American men. Despite improvements in treatment options in recent years, nearly 30,000 men die each year from prostate cancer. What is worse, experts disagree about whether early screening is important, which could possibly lead to the delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Is Early Screening Important?
A study published last year surprised many when it found that early prostate screening may do more harm than good for many men. Researchers reasoned that early screening efforts may detect tumors in some men that would never cause serious problems, but, nevertheless, the detection of cancer would subject patients to damaging surgery and pharmaceutical treatments.
A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine challenges this conclusion, however. Researchers tracked 182,000 European men between the ages of 50 and 74 for an 11-year period. Half the men were assigned to a group that received regular prostate cancer screenings and half were not. Those who received regular screenings were 30 percent less likely to die from prostate cancer. There is, however, a 30 percent chance that the cancer discovered by screening is insignificant and that a patient can be subjected to treatment unnecessarily.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
The experts agree: early screening for prostate cancer can save a man’s life. The American Cancer Society recommends that men should begin discussing screening with their physicians at age 50. If they are African-American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, they should begin the conversation at age 45.
More than anything else, a conversation with a physician can help determine whether screening is proper. If done properly, screening can help identify prostate cancer early, when it is most treatable.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured by the delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of prostate cancer, lung cancer, or any other type of cancer, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today. A personal injury attorney can assess your case and help you get the fair and adequate compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For more information, contact a personal injury attorney today.