Albin CroppedHow useful is the widely used PSA test in diagnosing potentially fatal prostate cancer?  The scientist who discovered the prostate specific antigen in 1970 believes the test is minimally effective and overprescribed.

Richard J. Ablin, Ph.D., research professor of immunobiology and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, will give a lecture at Academy Village next Thursday (2/28) entitled “Prostate Cancer: Every Man Needs a Plan.”  The Arizona Senior Academy’s monthly wellness lecture begins at 3:30 p.m.

Prostate testing remains controversial.  While urologists frequently prescribe the test, a federal panel that evaluated cancer screening tests recommended against the PSA test for men over 75.

Ablin says he never supported the test as a screening tool because it detects only a small fraction of prostate cancers and it can’t distinguish between two types of prostate cancer, only one of them fatal.  He feels that too many men have unnecessary biopsies and surgery with all the associated risks and potential complications.  He notes that American men have a 16 per cent chance of developing prostate cancer but only a 3 per cent chance of dying from it.

Ablin received his Ph. D. in microbiology from the State University of New York in Buffalo.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa and various professional societies, he has served as vice president of the American College of Cyrosurgery and president of the International Society of Cyrosurgery.   He has spoken at many international scientific meetings and written numerous professional journal articles.

Submitted by H. Deon Holt, Academy Village Volunteer

 

(Past) Questions About the PSA Test: Feb. 2013