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Study questions prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) screening costs

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

Screening for prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) and subsequent cancer are unlikely to be helpful in men with a life expectancy of less than 10 years, and may actually worsen their quality of life, says Steven Woolf, from the Department of Family Practice, Fairfax Family Practice Center, Virginia (US). Indeed, while figures suggest that prostate cancer will cause 40,000 deaths in the US in 1995, up to nine million men may have latent disease, so at the present time, as Dr Woolf notes, "most men with latent prostate cancer die with, rather than from, the disease". The economic implications of screening also need to be considered, as the first year of screening in the US (28 million men over the age of 50 would be eligible) could cost $12,000-$28,000 million dollars, with a subsequent annual cost of $3,000 million Dr Woolf estimates.

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