Newswire (Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 8:59:00 PM CST, Received: Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 6:56:49 AM CST)

Word Count: 629

A University of Florida-led advisory council tasked by the state with developing guidelines for early detection of prostate cancer has released recommendations that differ from federal guidelines in the frequency of a key test for the disease.

The release of the guidelines coincides with a rising incidence of prostate cancer in Florida, the number of new diagnoses within the state having increased for the fourth consecutive year. At the same time, a recent study published in Health Affairs shows that the overall rate of men in the United States receiving treatment for prostate cancer fell 42 percent from 2007 to 2012, likely reflecting a change in federal screening recommendations.

The different recommendations highlight an ongoing discussion among medical experts nationwide about the use of a critical detection test.

Since 2011, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which informs federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has recommended against routine prostate-specific, antigen-based screening for men to decrease over-diagnosis and overtreatment. The prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood test is the most common screening for prostate cancer. The PSA test may give false-positive or false-negative results, which could lead to unnecessary treatments that can cause a long-term impact on quality of life, according to the National Cancer Institute.

However, the Florida Prostate Cancer Advisory Council, or PCAC, recommends that Floridian men 50 years or older with an average risk of getting the disease be encouraged to get early detection testing. All African-American men in the state and those 40 years or older with close relatives who have prostate cancer should also be urged to get tested.

"The Prostate Cancer Early Detection Guidelines for Floridians are intended to be a reliable resource for all Florida men at a time when prostate cancer screening is considered by some to be controversial," said Thomas Stringer, M.D., the executive director of the PCAC and the UF Prostate Disease Center. … The PCAC's guidelines specifically addresses unique Florida subpopulations at increased prostate cancer diagnosis risk, including older and African-American men. Early diagnosis remains key to long-term cancer survivorship."

According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50, and the disease occurs more often in African-American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races.

Prostate cancer is the leading cancer for men in the state.

These statistics, coupled with significant prostate cancer disparities between rural and urban populations and across ethnic and racial groups, are resulting in segments of the Floridian population being underdiagnosed or diagnosed at later stages, receiving dissimilar disease management and treatment methods and, potentially, decreasing their survival expectations, according to the PCAC website.

The Florida Legislature in 2011 directed the UF Prostate Disease Center to establish an advisory body that develops and implements strategies to improve outreach and education. The council presents prostate cancer-related policy recommendations to the Florida Department of Health and other appropriate government entities, and communicates best practices to physicians involved in the care of patients with prostate cancer.

In April 2016, Florida State Surgeon General Celeste Philip, M.D., reviewed and approved the Prostate Cancer Early Detection Guidelines for Floridians, as put forth by the council. The recommendations were released shortly before the end of 2016.

"The Florida Prostate Cancer Advisory Council is now working to establish guidelines to help standardize prostate cancer treatment for men in our state of Florida based upon current evidence-based best practices," said Li-Ming Su, M.D., the David A. Cofrin professor of urologic oncology and chair of the department of urology in the UF College of Medicine.

The organization's next goal is to develop statewide management guidelines for prostate cancer once the diagnosis is made.


University of Florida
Centers for Disease Prevention and Control
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society Inc.
Florida Department of Health


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