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Taking Aim at a Prostate Testing Recommendation


Location: Washington, DC

Rodney this week wrote to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to protest a new draft recommendation regarding a common prostate cancer screening test. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) this month determined that the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test may not be necessary. The panel statedthat there is at least a moderate certainty that the test has no net benefit or that the harm done by the test will outweigh the benefits.

"I have many constituents who either know someone or are the one whose life was saved by this essential screening tool," Rodney wrote. "As you are well aware, since the use of PSA testing began, deaths from prostate cancer have decreased by 40%."

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in men in the U.S., and 1 in 6 American men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Early prostate cancer often has no symptoms and therefore it is vital that PSA testing, in combination with a digital rectal exam, be encouraged and used for all men, regardless of their symptom level.

A long time advocate for prostate cancer prevention, treatment and research, Rodney told Secretary Sebelius that he is "concerned that such recommendations will have a very real and very negative impact on men's health and their families."

He asked Sebelius to provide him with an expanded explanation of the research the USPSTF used to reach its conclusions.

Over the years, Rodney has worked closely with the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and its federal counterpart, the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and with the Department of Defense to support cancer research.

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