Early Prostate Cancers in Older Men Way Down

Prostate cancer cases have declined in men 75 and older

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Prostate cancer screening guidelines have been changing over the past several years. All of this is thanks to the advice of United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). 

In 2008, the USPSTF recommended that men age 75 and older did not need to be screened for prostate cancer.

Since that time, the diagnosis of early prostate cancers in men in their mid-70s and older has plummeted - by 25 percent.

"Talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screenings."

David H. Howard, PhD, of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, used Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry data to track trends. All newly diagnosed cancers are recorded in SEER.

A total of 254,184 prostate cancer cases were studied. Cases were divided into various age groups.

Dr. Howard found 25.4 percent fewer prostate cancers diagnosed in men 75 years and older between the years 2007 and 2009 - from 8,137 to 6,162.

"Based on trends in prostate cancer incidence rates, the impact of the revised USPSTF recommendation on screening rates merits further investigation," Dr. Howard said.

dailyRx asked University of Colorado prostate cancer expert E. David Crawford, MD, if he thought fewer cases of prostate cancer would be diagnosed now that USPSTF has recommended against prostate cancer screenings in men of all ages.

Dr. Crawford is professor of surgery, urology and radiation oncology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) in Denver.

He told dailyRx that the decline in cases in older men "...reflects the impact and the power of their recommendations. Most screening is done by family practice doctors, not urologists who tended to ignore this recommendation," said Dr. Crawford who is head of the Section of Urologic Oncology at UCHSC.

"I am seeing a real decline in the number of low risk cases since the latest recommendations by the USPSTF, and suspect the slope of decline will be even more steep," Dr. Crawford said.

This research was published in the July edition of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The California Health Care Foundation and the Parsemus Foundation supported this research.

No financial conflicts of interest were reported. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 25, 2012
Last Updated:
May 23, 2013