Study: Popular prostate test may be unnecessary

March 28, 2011 2:57:45 PM PDT
More than 20 million American men get their PSA checked every year. PSA stands for "prostate-specific antigen." The test can help detect prostate cancer, but some medical professionals contend the benefits are over-hyped.

A new study suggests elderly men may be undergoing unnecessary screenings.

A man's PSA level is checked through a blood test.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that men in their 70s are tested for prostate cancer nearly twice as often as men in their early 50s, even though men in their 50s should get tested.

ABC7 spoke with the senior author of the study, Dr. Scott Eggener.

"What's really important and the main message of the study is that we should be selectively using the test and giving it and offering it to people that are younger, healthier and the most likely to benefit from the psa screening," said Dr. Eggener.

The American Cancer Society encourages men to talk with their doctor about the risks and benefits of screening.

The study appears in the current online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The lead author of the study, Scott Eggener, is related to an ABC7 employee.