Dr. Jarrard Promotes Prostate Cancer Awareness
President Obama has declared September Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. David Jarrard, MD, joined host Joy Cardin September 3rd on the Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network, to discuss the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. Dr. Jarrard noted that most men over 50 should be screened routinely, as should men over 40 if they are African-American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer at an early age.
Screening tools include the PSA test, which measures the amount of a protein produced by the prostate in the bloodstream, and the digital rectal exam. Jarrard addressed recent studies citing unnecessary screening and treatment, noting that diagnosing and treating small, slow-growing prostate cancers in elderly men in poor health typically does not extend lives. However, he emphasized that 27,000 people die from the disease each year, and screening is important.
Dr. Jarrard said the PSA test is not cancer-specific and will detect other abnormalities such as BPH and Prostatitis. In some cases, the test does not detect prostate cancer. He said other screening tools are being studied, and better ones will likely become available in the future.