A federal task force is changing course and recommending routine screening for prostate cancer.

A federal task force is changing course and recommending routine screening for prostate cancer.

This comes five years after the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against the regular use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. That decision was based on the potential of overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment. 

The new guidelines suggest doctors should discuss the risk factors as well as the pros and cons of PSA testing with men ages 55 to 69. 

"I think the new changes to USPSTF guidelines with respect to the use of the PSA test reflect the thoughtful consideration of currently available research data,” says John Semmes, PhD, the Anthem Distinguished Professor for Cancer Research, Director of the Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center and Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology. “The new guidelines allow greater flexibility to the treating physician in recognition of a prostate cancer as an heterogenous disease."

According to the American Cancer Society, about one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and at least 26,000 die from the disease, making it one of the most common and deadly cancers among men.

The guidelines are in draft form now and the task force will evaluate public comment before making a final recommendation.