As a two-year survivor of prostate cancer, I was appalled to see the recent recommendations by the U.S. Representatives Task Force that men not get screened for prostate cancer. This recommendation mirrors that of an earlier one forwarded by the same group that argued that women in their 40’s don’t need to get mammograms.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was 53-years-old, and I am now 55 and lived to tell my story. But who knows if I would’ve lived to voice my outrage over this recommendation if I hadn’t been screened. A similar thing also happened to my wife, who was diagnosed at age 40 with breast cancer and was treated and cured. She has been cancer-free for 12 years now, but again, if she hadn’t gotten regular mammograms, who can say if she would’ve survived.
The task force claims that PSA blood tests to screen for prostate cancer are ineffective in reducing the number of deaths. In fact, they claim that if you test 100 men over age 50, 17 of them would have prostate cancer, but only 3 of those men would have a fast-growing form that would lead to death. Additionally, the task force argues that treatment often leads to incontinence and impotence, making it less than desirable for men with low-risk prostate cancer to undergo such procedures. But there are other people like me who are disappointed with the task force’s decision, such as the president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, whose life was also saved by screening. I wish that task forces rendered with making such important and potentially life-threatening decisions would look beyond the statistics and listen to those whose lives have literally been saved by screening.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.