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PSA Screenings: a Money-Making Scam

Posted Jun 02 2010 3:00am
By admin 06/02/2010

If I told you that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings were more about making money than your health, you might think I was crazy. After all, 30 million men can’t be wrong, can they?

But screenings are not only virtually pointless but potentially harmful too. And most of the players in the medical community know it. The feds know it. The American Cancer Society knows it. Even the guy who discovered PSA’s knows it. In fact, the only group that doesn’t know it is Joe Public, who’s out there blindly taking the tests!!

Simply put: PSA testing can’t detect cancer; it can’t even distinguish between malign and benign prostate cancers. So why are 30 million American men still taking the tests? Because it’s become a big money-making industry; generating $3 billion per year.

What is PSA Screening?

PSA is a protein created by the prostate gland. It is found in small amounts in the blood of healthy men. Men with prostate cancer may show elevated levels. However, so too do men with benign prostate enlargement.

The PSA test was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994. It is now the most popular tool for detecting prostate cancer.

But do PSA screenings save lives? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. Most statistics suggest they don’t even lengthen life. In fact, many experts suggest they don’t make any difference at all.

Early Detection

Supporters argue that PSA screenings allow for early detection of prostate cancer. Advocacy groups use ‘survivor’ statistics to ‘prove’ that people are living longer after early detection. The simple message: early detection saves lives, so PSA tests are good. However, in the case of prostate cancer, early detection does not necessarily save lives. Why? Because most prostate cancers are slow growing: those ‘survivors’ would have enjoyed the same lifespan with or without treatment.

The man who discovered PSA is Dr. Richard J. Ablin. He recently spoke out against PSA screenings.

“American men have a 16 percent lifetime chance of receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but only a three percent chance of dying from it,” he said. “That’s because the majority of prostate cancers grow slowly. In other words, men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it.”

This theory was supported by a wide-ranging study published in 2008. The study revealed that screening did not reduce the death rate in men 55 and over. In other words, early detection usually offers little benefit. What’s worse, it can lead to unnecessary personal harm.

PSA Screenings Inherently Flawed

According to Dr. Ablin, PSA screenings ‘can’t detect cancer’. They only diagnose how much prostate antigen men have in their blood. However, PSA levels are a flawed diagnosis. Everyday factors can significantly affect those levels.

Three common factors that elevate men’s PSA levels include:

  • Infections
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Benign swelling of the prostate

A man with high levels of PSA does not necessarily have cancer. Men with low levels may have prostate cancer. Dr. Ablin is not alone in speaking out against the tests. Dr. Otis W. Bramley, MD, also opposes them. Dr. Bramley is the chief medical officer for the Cancer Society.

“I’m against telling people that (PSA testing) works,” said Dr. Bramley. “That it saves lives when the evidence that supports those statements simply does not exist.”

An in-depth study published by the British Medical Journal last year provided further testimony that PSA screenings are flawed. The study was led by Jennifer Stark, research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.

“PSA cannot differentiate between indolent and lethal prostate cancer,” said Stark. “Before PSA testing is performed, men should be… informed that the test cannot tell whether they have a life-threatening cancer.”

The experts agree: PSA screenings are a worthless indicator of prostate cancer. The question is, if they don’t do much good, do they do much harm? The answer, simply put, is ‘yes’.

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Harmful Diagnosis

PSA screenings immediately impact the patient in a negative way. Three negatives include:

Bullet #3 is the real problem. A positive PSA test starts the ball rolling on a painful and often unnecessary personal nightmare.

Having tested positive, the doctor then calls for a biopsy. A prostate biopsy is something that most men dread and with good reason. There are many negative factors associated with them.

Negative Consequences of Biopsies include:

  • Psychological stress
  • Pain
  • Fever

If the biopsy shows any signs of cancer, the doctor then pushes for treatment. Treatment options include anything from prostate surgery to radiation therapy. The conventional treatments may vary, but the results are all damaging.

Three damaging side effects of prostate surgery or radiation therapy include:

Now consider this: 70 percent of diagnosed men have cancers that will cause them no harm whatsoever if left untreated. A European study revealed further shocking findings in 2009.

“People who were never going to get a dangerous cancer get treated and suffer the ill effects of needless treatment,” said study co-author Dr. H. Gilbert Welch. “Over diagnosed patients cannot benefit from treatment because there is nothing to be fixed, but they can be harmed.”

The study showed that just one out of almost 50 men would be saved through PSA screenings. The other 49 men would receive surgery with no benefit whatsoever. What’s worse, they’d suffer impotence or incontinence because of the treatments.

Alternatively, men who chose to practice ‘watchful waiting’ often lived out their lives unimpaired.That’s according to research presented by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The study was conducted by Dr. Martin Sanda.

“Men diagnosed with low-risk tumors who deferred treatment were still doing fine an average of eight years and up to 20 years following their diagnosis,” said Dr. Sanda.

The Truth is Out There

Study after study is discrediting PSA screenings. Leading field authorities like doctors Ablin and Brawley are not alone in condemning the tests. Earlier this year the American Cancer Society urged greater caution using PSA screenings. The American College of Preventive Medicine refuses to recommend routine screening. Even the Preventive Services Task Force, a federal panel evaluating screenings, found issues. They recommended against screenings for men 75 years and older. The panel has yet to issue guidance for younger men.

The industry experts and organizations know the truth. So why are 30 million men still taking the screenings?

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Financial Gain

The answer is simple: because there are huge profits to be made out of screenings. PSA testing is a long-established source of revenue. Drug companies push the tests. Advocacy groups promote prostate cancer awareness: awareness through PSA screenings. And many of the advocacy groups are funded by the drug companies.

“Several of the leading prostate cancer survivor organizations that do a lot of the pushing of screening are funded by the makers of the PSA screening kits,” said Dr. Brawley.

Likewise, the man who discovered PSA knows that PSA screenings are a money-making scam.

 “I never dreamed that my discovery four decades ago would lead to such a profit-driven public health disaster,” said Dr. Ablin. “The medical community must confront reality and stop the inappropriate use of PSA screening. Doing so would save billions of dollars and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatments.”

Wake Up to Healthful Alternatives

PSA screenings do not effectively test for prostate cancer. But that doesn’t mean you can stop worrying about prostate cancer. In fact, it means you are entirely responsible for your own health. That’s a scary idea. But it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to prevent prostate cancer is more empowering than a medical test.

Medical science has let you down: this is your wake up call to change your lifestyle and your diet. Steer clear of the causes of prostate cancer. Discover your options for protecting yourself against - and preventing - prostate cancer.  

Powerful Prostate Cancer Preventers

You are what you eat and your health depends on your diet. Diet is one of the key factors in preventing prostate cancer.

Here are 10 foods can significantly cut a man’s risk of prostate cancer:

Tomatoes: This red fruit is a rich source of lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. Studies show that antioxidants protect against prostate cancer. The National Prostate Cancer Foundation recognizes its protective power and recommends that men stock up on lycopene-rich foods.

Green Tea: Study after study shows the benefit of drinking green tea for general good health. Now two recent studies show that green tea also delivers a powerful protective punch against prostate cancer. So brew up a cup and toast to good health.

Cruciferous Vegetables: You probably won’t be surprised that super-food broccoli battles prostate cancer. It’s not alone: other cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts. Three or more servings per week may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 50 percent.

Garlic: The ancient Egyptians believed Garlic could prevent brain tumors. More recent studies suggest it cuts the risk of prostate cancer tumors by over half. That’s possibly because it contains selenium. Selenium is an essential antioxidant that fights cancer. According to Dr. Al Sears, studies show selenium supplements lead to a 50-percent drop in prostate cancer risk.

Brazil Nuts: Another great source of selenium. A daily handful of Brazil nuts offer enough selenium to lower your risk by 50 percent.

Fish: Dr. Al Sears has also conducted exciting research on combining vitamin E with selenium. The two taken together forge an effective shield against prostate cancer. Vitamin E is found in significant quantities in fish. Best sources: Sardines, tuna, and salmon.

Flaxseeds: Another rich source of vitamin E are flaxseeds. Research conducted on mice shows that flaxseeds may slow the spread of prostate cancer.

Pomegranate Juice: Pomegranate juice also slows the growth of prostate cancer, according to research on mice.

Scallions: One study showed that eating just a tenth-of-an-ounce of scallions each day reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 70 percent.

In addition to vitamin E and Selenium, herbal supplement saw palmetto also boosts prostate health. Saw palmetto alleviates the symptoms of prostate gland enlargement.

The herbal extract is the initial treatment for urinary tract problems in several European countries.

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