Weigh in on USPSTF Recommendations on PSA
Dear AUA Member,
As you know, last week the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced its intent to issue a Grade D recommendation against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer, asserting that there is "moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits" and discouraging the use of the test.
The AUA strongly disagrees with this position, and feels that the Task Force is doing men a great disservice by disparaging what is now the only widely available test for prostate cancer, a potentially devastating disease. Because prostate cancer does not cause symptoms until it is in the advanced stage, it is imperative that the disease be caught in time for men to be monitored or treated appropriately. We can all agree that the PSA test is not perfect; however, it would be barbaric to dismiss the PSA test before a suitable alternative is available. Despite the limitations of the PSA test, we do not want to return to the pre-PSA era when men presented with such late-stage disease that our hands were bound and we could do little beyond palliative care.
The USPSTF does not include a urologist. As the specialists that diagnose and treat the majority of prostate cancers in the United States, we must make our opinions known. It is time for us to stand up to the USPSTF as they prepare to make their final recommendations.
What can you do?
Submit comments to the USPSTF: The AUA will be submitting formal comments on behalf of organized urology, but we need other groups and members to also take a stand. The voices of urologists are notably missing from this debate. We encourage you to take time to review the recommendations (located here) and submit your own comments.
Contact the media: The AUA has prepared a sample letter to the editor and talking points for you to use in crafting letters to submit to your local newspapers. Sending these letters is helpful not only in elevating public discussion on this issue, but also letting your patients know your stance on the recommendations. Click here to send your letter.
Contact your lawmaker: The strong support that Members of Congress have shown for the AUA-authored Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing Access and Treatment Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act is demonstrative of lawmakers' commitment to prostate cancer. Help these lawmakers understand how the new USPSTF recommendations affect your patients. Sample letters are available at the AUA Advocacy Center. Click here to send your letter now.
The AUA is also coordinating a sign-on letter for lawmakers to send collectively to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, urging her to reject the USPSTF recommendations. Watch your e-mail over the next several days to learn how you can help with his effort.
Tell your patients. The AUA Foundation has prepared a one-page information sheet about prostate cancer testing. We encourage you to share this resource with your patients. Click here to view the document.
American Urological Association
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