Prostate cancer screening can cause lasting Trauma
An article by Kathryn Eccles in Friday's Medical Observer states " FALSE-positive prostate cancer results can cause sexual dysfunction and persistent psychological distress, a study says. Men who received an abnormal screening test but whose prostate biopsies proved normal were three times more likely to worry about a subsequent risk of cancer than those with normal screening results. Based on a telephone survey of 210 men, US researchers also found men with false-positive results were nearly twice as likely to report 'moderate to big' sexual function problems. This could be related to residual pain or side-effects after the biopsy procedure, such as haemospermia, or to the psychological effects of worrying, the researchers said (Urology 2007;69:215-20). A majority of the men with abnormal screening tests also had distorted perceptions of their risk of developing prostate cancer, with many either rating their chances too high or too low. The results reinforced the importance of discussing the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening with patients, the researchers said. Our results highlight the need... to provide education and feedback to primary care physicians to minimise the inappropriate use of prostate cancer screening." Effective counselling interventions before prostate cancer screening and during follow-up should be in place, they added. Previous results had shown similar results in women with false-positive mammography findings.