It's never a good thing when the man who created a test
announces that it is absolutely useless in effectively
detecting prostate cancer. The PSA test is commonly
used by physicians to determine if a patient is suffering
from prostate cancer by looking at levels of PSA in
Dr. Thomas Stamey, the PSA pioneer, has conducted trials
that show PSA levels can be elevated for a variety of
reasons and may not require invasive surgery. Dr. Stamey
is pushing for the development of new, definitive tests
such as the yearly rectal scan for men over 50 to detect
• The PSA test, used to screen men for detecting
prostate cancer has been declared all but useless by
a pioneer in the procedure.
• Dr. Stamey and colleagues examined more than
1,300 prostate tissue samples removed by urologists
at Stanford over the past 20 years.
• In the first five-year group, 43 percent had
a prostate cancer relationship to PSA testing, that
relationship dropped to only 2 percent in the most recent
• "Our study raises a very serious question
of whether a man should even use the PSA test for prostate
cancer screening any more," said Dr. Stamey, referring
to his study published in the October issue of the Journal
• In 1987, Dr. Stamey, the pioneer in PSA testing
published his original findings in the New England Journal
of Medicine showing that increased blood PSA levels
could be used to indicate prostate cancer.
• However, now, Dr. Stamey believes the PSA test
is not a useful predictor of prostate cancer, but only
reflects a harmless increase in prostate size.
• Dr. Stamey also believes it's time to stop removing
every man's prostate who has prostate cancer.
• "We originally thought we were doing the
right thing, but we are now figuring out how we went
• All men will get prostate cancer if they live
long enough, said Dr. Stamey, and if there is an excuse
such an elevated PSA test, a biopsy will be performed,
and cancer will be found.
• But the cancer found will likely be insignificant.
• Dr. stamey recommends a yearly digital rectal
exam for all men over 50, as opposed to PSA testing
to detect prostate cancer.
• "If a cancer is felt in the prostate during
a rectal examination, it is always a significant cancer
and certainly needs treatment," Dr. Stamey said.