24 March 2022

Study shows that stopping screening increases cases of metastatic cancer

Cases of metastatic prostate cancer increased significantly in the United States between 2010 and 2018, after US authorities began a new policy of discouraging PSA testing for prostate cancer. This is the finding of a new analysis published in an American Medical Association online journal, and supports the argument for prostate cancer organised screening programmes.

The study found that, among men aged 45-74, the incidence of metastatic prostate cancer remained stable between 2004 and 2010, but increased by 5.3% annually after 2010, when the influential US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against prostate cancer screening.

The new findings add to the evidence in favour of organised prostate cancer screening programmes across Europe. Organisations such as Europa Uomo argue that such programmes would allow prostate cancer to be diagnosed early before it has spread, and while it can still be treated effectively.

The authors of the new study, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, say: “This study suggests that the incidence of metastatic prostate cancer is increasing and might be temporally associated with changes in clinical policy and/or practice (USPSTF guidelines) which may explain such rapid changes in cancer epidemiological trends.”