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HHS HealthBeat (September 9, 2011)

No easy choice

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Screening for prostate cancer means searching for it early, before symptoms develop – when treatment, if it’s needed, could be most effective.

But prostate cancer screening has some asterisks. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Susan Laird notes that one screening tool involves measuring levels of prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, in the blood.

The problem is that, while PSA is higher with prostate cancer, it also can be higher due to other health problems, such as inflammation, obesity, and benign prostate disease. So Laird says the reading does not give easy answers:

``To decide whether prostate cancer screening is right for you, discuss the pros and cons with your health care provider and the people important in your life.’’ (8 seconds)

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: September 9, 2011