The Urology Care Foundation and the American Urological Association (AUA) thank and commend actor Ben Stiller for publicly sharing his personal journey with prostate cancer as well as discussing the importance of early detection. We applaud him for raising awareness of prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men, and the second-leading cause of cancer death in men.
Early detection, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, has played an important role in decreasing the mortality from prostate cancer. We believe this test provides clinicians with valuable information to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Currently, there is not a comparable test or diagnostic available for this purpose.
The decision to test for prostate cancer should be individualized and include a discussion with a health care provider about the patient’s risk factors and the benefits and risks associated with testing, as well as subsequent tests (e.g., biopsy). While our 2013 clinical practice guideline states men ages 55 to 69 are most likely to benefit from PSA testing, we encourage all men, regardless of their age, to discuss their prostate health with their doctors. If, after this discussion, a man wishes to be tested, he should be tested.
Leading medical societies including the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Cancer Society, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the AUA, advocate for discussions about the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening. As Mr. Stiller noted, in 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine use of the PSA test, a diagnostic that he attributes to saving his life.
“Mr. Stiller’s prostate cancer story demonstrates the value of early detection and an individualized approach to prostate cancer screening,” says J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, AUA president-elect and prostate cancer spokesperson. “’One size fits all’ recommendations such as those made by the USPSTF can result in missed asymptomatic cases, like Mr. Stiller’s, and discourage conversations between men and their physicians.”
The AUA is committed to preserving patients' access to appropriate prostate cancer testing and is working at both the federal and local levels to engage lawmakers on this important issue. Additionally, the Urology Care Foundation is diligently working to educate and inspire men across the country to know their prostate cancer risk and talk to their doctor about whether prostate cancer testing is right for them.
For more information, please contact AUA Communications Office: 410-689-3932 or Communications@AUAnet.org.