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Prostate screening on the decline

| Nov 23, 2015 | Medical Malpractice |

New York medical professionals may have mixed thoughts on changing recommendations related to screening for various types of cancer. An announcement occurred in 2012 at which time a task force noted that prostate cancer screening was not a necessity for most men. High-risk individuals, including those in the African-American community and those whose families have a history of cancer, were still identified as candidates for PSA screening.

Statistics for prostate screening have decreased since that 2012 announcement. The number of men over 50 being screened is 18 percent lower than at that time. Similar statistics have been noted in older demographic groups as well. Early prostate cancer detection has also decreased in that time frame. There is a concern that the lower numbers of early cancer cases might be the result of inadequate screening. However, one of the primary reasons for the task force making its recommendations was the fact that many cancers being treated after PSA screening were slow-growing. The effects of treatment tended to be more damaging than the cancers being treated.

Ideally, medical decisions made as health care providers and their patients evaluate the pros and cons of prostate screening should reflect a high level of trust and communication between the parties. There is some concern that providers might use the task force’s recommendations as a reason to cease most PSA screening without informing patients of the options.

Injuries from medical malpractice can vary in nature. A missed diagnosis is not necessarily a case of malpractice, but circumstances that could support a medical malpractice claim for a missed diagnosis might include a patient’s request for certain tests to assess symptoms or address concerns. If a patient later suffers serious health problems because of a doctor’s inaction, a medical malpractice claim might be warranted.

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