The prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening test for prostate cancer has an astounding 75 percent false-positive rate. Just flipping a coin would get you a more accurate result!
But, according to a new study, one key factor can still push a man into getting this faulty test: his trust in his doctor. I’ll tell you more about that interesting study in a moment.
But first, let’s look more closely at the PSA test itself…
It’s all a money-making scheme
The PSA test was originally designed for use only in men already diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was intended to help doctors monitor progression (or regression) of a real cancer.
But there was never any scientific basis to use the PSA test for random, routine screening in healthy men who don’t already have prostate cancer.
Nevertheless, physicians continue to force this test on unsuspecting, perfectly healthy men. And urologists continue to use the results to justify harmful prostate biopsies.
Of course, many experts now consider prostate “cancer” as largely a harmless condition. In fact, a 2013 National Cancer Institute (NCI) report found that so-called “early stage prostate cancer” (specifically, high grade intraepithelial prostatic neoplasia, or HGPIN) is essentially a benign, non-cancerous condition.
In other words…we shouldn’t even call it cancer!
That means, over the past decades, doctors diagnosed and aggressively treated millions of men with a benign, early-stage, non-cancerous condition that would have never gone on to cause problems. Much less shorten their lives.
Sadly, these men may think the screening saved their lives. But — in reality — their lives were never at risk.
Plus, men diagnosed with prostate cancer (whether real or not) are more likely to suffer a heart attack in the year after diagnosis. Plus, these men face an increased risk of suicide — precipitated by needless worry — as happened to my aunt’s husband years ago. And to top it all off, these men are also more likely to die from treatment complications for “cancers” that may have never caused any symptoms, let alone been fatal.
The whole realm of prostate cancer, diagnosis, and treatment suffers from a shocking lack of objective data. Medical approaches to prostate health are highly subjective, more based on faith than science.
So, it came as no surprise to me that a new study ties trust in their physician — not actual evidence of efficacy — to a man’s willingness to get PSA testing…
Physicians wield too much power
The PSA test triggers a lot of feelings in men. (Of course, most cancer screenings and scans cause stress — which researchers at my alma mater, University of Pennsylvania, call “scanxiety.”)
One urologist said, “I have a colleague who says that PSA stands for patient specific anxiety.”
For the new study, the researchers wanted to assess how a man’s trust in his doctor affects his willingness to get the PSA test. So, they analyzed data on 5,069 men included in the U.S. national survey called the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS).
Seventy-one percent of men had “a lot” of trust in cancer information from their doctors. And 23 percent trusted “some” of it. Only 4 percent had “little” trust and 1 percent “not at all.”
Furthermore, researchers found a strong link between the degree of trust and the likelihood of getting the PSA test.
Among men with “a lot” of trust, 55 percent got PSA screening. Among those with some trust, 49 percent got the screening. Only 38 percent of men with “little” trust and 27 percent of men with “no trust” got screened.
How do they convince their patients? Well, previous studies show physicians consistently exaggerate the benefits of screening and minimize the risks.
Indeed, Dr. Cara Litvin of Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, said physicians express “inherent biases” in how they describe PSA. In other words, doctors who believe in the value of PSA, “tend to have more patients who undergo screening, perhaps because they trust their physicians’ recommendations.”
In the end, here’s a hint about the HINT Survey: Physicians’ claims about the efficacy of PSA testing may be highly exaggerated.
And before I go, here’s a little evidence-based footnote about prostate health…
Think carefully about bike-riding
A new study from the Department of Urology at the University of California, San Francisco, found male cyclists were more prone to urethral strictures.
A urethral stricture is basically an abnormality involving the narrowing of the urethra.
This abnormality causes painful urination. It can also lead to obstruction of the urinary tract leading to bladder and kidney infections. The researchers also found cycling causes genital numbness. (But they say men can reduce this problem by standing at least 20 percent of the time while cycling. Which begs the question: Then why not just walk?)
Of course, previous studies suggest excessive bicycling can negatively affect genitourinary health in men. Apparently, the micro-trauma happens as a result of prolonged pressure and banging on the perineal area (on the seat between the scrotum and the anus). This finding is consistent with the kind of micro-trauma to kidneys and GI tract in those who engage in excessive physical activity.
Despite these findings, the headline in a mainstream article about this new study proclaimed, “Cycling doesn’t harm men’s health.”
Hmmm, but other than that…Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?
For the past 18 months, I’ve been working on reviewing all the science (and the superstitions) surrounding prostate health and prostate cancer in men. And I’m currently in the beginning stages of taking all of this information and putting it together into a comprehensive, step-by-step protocol that can help men wade through the misinformation and take control of their prostate health once and for all. I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and you’ll be the first to know when this landmark protocol is ready for release.
In the meantime, for more recommendations on safer alternatives to some of today’s most common — and dangerous — cancer screenings, refer to my Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol. You can learn more about it, or enroll today, by clicking here.
“’Physician Trust’ Tied to PSA Testing,” Medscape (www.medscape.com) 2/9/2018
“Cycling, and Male Sexual and Urinary Function: Results from a Large, Multinational, Cross-Sectional Study,” Journal of Urology 2018; 199: 798-804