The PSA Test Receives a Grade of a “D”—for Its Inaccuracy!

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Men's Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

You’ve probably seen it in the news. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has put an end to all of the waffling on whether the PSA (prostate-specific antigen test) should be used to screen men for prostate cancer. They gave its accuracy a dismal grade of a “D” and suggested it should no longer be used as a routine screening test in men.

The Task Force cited large epidemiological studies showing a combination of PSA screening and early treatment of prostate cancer saves only about one life for every 1,000 men screened. For many others, an elevated PSA score results in an unnecessary prostate biopsy and treatments that can cause impotency and incontinence.

As with all diseases, prevention is your best defense:

Switch to a more plant-based, organic diet, and limit your consumption of meat and dairy products.

  • Incorporate more omega-3 fatty acids (found in flaxseed, fish oil, walnuts, and more) into your diet, which can cut the risk of prostate cancer in half.
  • Eat lycopene-rich tomatoes. Research has also shown that eating 10 servings of tomato-based products a week, including tomato sauce, can reduce the incidence of prostate cancer by up to 45 percent.
  • Eat more indoles, which are found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. All three contain an incredible number of phytonutrients that can prevent cell damage.

You also want to make sure you visit your doctor and get regular digital rectal exams which can help to detect prostate cancer. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you can also request ultrasound imaging. There’s also a newer test called the “free PSA,” which narrows the margin of error on the traditional PSA test.

You also want to watch for symptoms of potential prostate cancer which include painful ejaculation, difficulty urinating, or a chronic back ache or pains in the hips and pelvis. If you have any of these symptoms, you want to discuss them with your doctor.

Now it’s your turn: What do you think about PSA screenings?

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