Prostate Cancer Screening

In this video, Dr. Myers talks about controversy and prostate cancer treatments. (To view past posts, simply scroll down the page.)

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28 comments so far

  1. Pat on

    Fantastic! This is just what we need to combat the task force’s recommendation. Hopefully, Dr. Otis Brawley, head of the ACS, will have the courage to watch this (he opposes PSA screening). I am also sending this link to Shannon Brownlee and her cohort Jeanne Lenzer, who wrote an article in the NY Times in support of non-testing on the grounds that it leads to unnecessary surgery. Good for you, Dr. Myers!

  2. Nelson Lawson on

    Dr. Myers,
    I nearly stood up and cheered after listening to your latest videoblog on prostate cancer screening. You are right on the money on all aspects. I told my wife ten years ago that there would be an intergenerational struggle and the way the government Medicare system treats older men bares this out. You are aware, I’m sure, that Medicare won’t pay for the annual CT scans that Dr. Dattoli sensibly believes are necessary to detect any metathesis for cancer patients. That amounts to about $1000 per year out of my pocket. What happens to men who can’t afford this?. What upsets me is the Medicare conclusion that the test are “unnecessary!” Who the hell are these faceless beaucrats anyway?
    Keep up the good work.
    Nelson Lawson

    • Bill Irwin on

      Wow! Thanks Dr. Myers for recognizing us veterans! I am former Marine who served in Vietnam. I have stage 3 prostate cancer and am currently being treated here in Columbus Ohio at the James. Gleason was an 8, prostate removed, 39 radiation treatments and now on intermittnent hormone therapy. I have our cancer support group meeting tonight and we will be viewing one of your talks on DVD. Thanks again for what I consider your best video and taking a stand.

      Bill Irwin

      P.S. I am considering making an appt. with you for a second opinion



  4. Kevin on

    My dad was in the army for 30 years, did two tours in VietNam and has the bronze and silver stars. 5 years ago at age 70 he had his prostate removed because of cancer. Now he’s being told if they’d left it alone he would ultimately have died of old age, not cancer. And now he uses pads to control the leakage caused by the surgery. I assume he had the indolent type that Dr Myers talked about and I wonder if the doctor knew that five years ago. Was the doctor needing surgery practice? Or extra income?


  5. Duane Christensen on

    Your comments about the Viet Nam era make sense to me. I did not participate in the war either, though many of my students did. It was a bad experience for many — and you are tracing the end results of that era.

    I thank you for doing this. I had Gleason Score of 3+3 [which Dr. Robert Leibowitz wanted reread — to get a 3+4 reading]. I started with chemotherapy and bailed out after 9 of 12 sessions and chose to go with alternative therapy in 2006. My current urologist agreed to see me in six months because my PSA is about 30 where it has been sense I returned to the US from teaching in Eastern Jerusalem in 2008. In my opinion, my urologist is correct in diagnosing my case as the indolent variety of which you speak. At the same time, I need the PSA readings to remedy that effect in my continued treatment.

  6. Andrew Godon on

    In cases like this I tend to want to follow the money. Who benefits from an increase in metastatic prostate cancer? Would it be overly cynical of me to suggest: Big Pharma? Can’t think of who else. Lots of hormone treatment in the offing. But surely they’d never…………….

  7. Judy Battenfield on

    Amen, Dr. Myers!!

  8. AltEngnr on

    Dear Dr. Myers,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. The first ten minutes summed up exactly how I feel about the screening and the task force’s recommendation. I believe your comments in the following portion are even more important. You mention how older men are being treated by society. Well, it’s not just older men. Look at how the relief agencies behaved after the Haitian earthquake- giving food and necessary supplies to women, but not men. Our homeless shelter for women has private rooms, a kitchen area, etc, etc. The men get bunks in a common room and have to be gone the entire day. Don’t even get me started on how fathers are treated in “family” court, or how the media treated Mr. Becker’s genital mutilation at the hands of his wife, Catherine Kieu.

    You bet young men are paying attention! Bill Bennett recently joined the chorus of voices trying to shame younger men into “manning up!” and becoming fodder for the system. Mr. Bennett didn’t really illuminate why this might be in any man’s best interest. A recent survey in Japan found that over 60% (!) of men self-identified as “grass-eaters”. One 22-yr old explained that the grass-eaters are a “diverse group of men who have no real desire to live up to traditional social expectations in their relationships with women, their jobs, or anything else.” Is this where we’re heading?

  9. Kenneth E. Laird on

    Dr. Myers, thank you for this, in a word, OUTSTANDING 100% accurate video-blog. You know me, for you have played a major role in helping me control and manage my recurrent prostate cancer since Oct. 1 2003 and therefore I am still alive at age 72 in December of this year. It is your intellect and heart felt passion that are completely present in all of you video-blogs. I agree with all that you said in this video-blog. For as you know I am a Vietnam Vet who, was on more than one occasion, exposed to Agent Orange. I fully intend to not go quietly into the night no matter what this current administration and congress wants. I and all of the other recurrent prostate cancer patients must stand together and make all of are voices heard in our government. Thank you again Dr. Myers.

  10. Christopher LIM on

    Dear Dr Myers

    Thank you very much. I am Australian and I am following you very closely. I appreciate the information and admire your strength and commitment. All the very best to you. Cheers , Chris

  11. Nigel on

    A loud cheer from DownUnder also! And, of course, the age discrimination is not only happening in USA, believe me!

  12. Tom White on

    As a grateful patient of Dr. Myers, and member of the choir he preaches to in this video, I can hardly be expected to do any less than express my wholehearted agreement with his rejection of the decision to recommend against PSA screening for prostate cancer. I cannot accept that simply screening for disease could cause what appear to be poor treatment decisions by the medical practitioners in the field.

    My own case is a counter example: additional timely screening may have resulted in my receiving intervention before my disease metastasized. Another example: an acquaintance of many years, after a period of treatment with hormonal therapy triggered by rising PSA scores, dodged a bullet when a surgeon who was evaluating him for prostatectomy diagnosed BPH. Rising PSA? Getting older? Must be cancer! Lower the testosterone. Misdiagnosed, mistreated… how does this fit the picture?

    The PSA screen detects the possibility that aggressive prostate cancer is present; it cannot cause the ill effects of inappropriate follow up. I suppose one might consider, if too many students are flunking out of college, completely abandoning final exams. That way, less people would have their life choices reduced by lack of a diploma. The point is, problem identification must be done first, lest the focus fall on the wrong place, e.g., the tests.

  13. rick davis on

    i fully endorse what you say, dr. meyers ….. but what action can we take in unison to first, reverse this recommendation, and second, publicise the need for PSA screening; words are powerful but action is effective.

    we have heard that the task force will not respond to emotional appeals; they will respond to errors in their logic. we are fighting epidemiological reasoning – we should be asking them why they are not considering all the associated economic and social costs beyond death that will be incurred by a reduction in testing.

    back to publicising our disease – today i saw two firemen wearing pink shirts shopping in the same supermarket as myself; it made me mad. i asked these guys if they wore light blue last month and they looked at me like i was crazy! fortunately they were receptive – especially since one had a family history; hopefully we will do an awareness presentation in their firehouse. actions speak louder than words!

  14. Jim Skrypek on

    I’m proud to call you my doctor. I’m relieved that someone in the medical community has figured out that the emperor is not wearing clothes.

  15. Lisa Barton on

    A very important video. Eleven comments in one day. My father is 86 his prostate cancer fits into the nasty type. He is strong and fit, we had bee so careful having regular blood test, and many other test just to check there were no problems. He always got glowing reports. We had been doing this for years. Four different Dr, they just missed his prostate cancer. In a 14 month period his PSA had jumped to PSA 395. I now go to all my mum and dad’s medical appointments. I also ask for a copy of the results for my own records. I new they were having blood test every six months just to be careful. We have a very caring GP. After being told he had advanced prostate cancer I asked for a copy of all my dad’s blood results over 4 years. We were not looking for blame I just could noy understand how it could be missed by 4 different Dr. I was told once you are over I think it was 80 years they are only aloud to test so often in this age group. this does not make sense. The explanation I got is that most men in this age group will not die from it. Sounds like the US and Aussies have the same approach.

    Our Dr told us that Bob was the first patient that slipped through his practice. My parents can afford to pay for any medical examinationn or blood test we just were not aware there were some test that were determined by your age. Sounds like discrimination to me. We need to value all members of our community, it should not matter how much money you have. Every male should be able to have a PSA blood test as needed. We are talking about a fathers, grandfathers, brothers and nephews. There needs to be a change to the game plan in the US and Australia so that men get to live the best and longest lives possible. We need them. Great Video
    Lisa Barton

  16. Rob Protz on

    There are a lot of things I can say, but I’ll be brief and precise.

    I love the way you think, and the way you express what you think!

    Thanks for all your advocacy.

    Rob Protz
    4 yr PrCa Survivor

  17. Stan Rosenfeld on

    Snuffy, thought you might like to see our press release:

    Stan Rosenfeld

    From The National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions
    and The California Prostate Cancer Coalition

    For Immediate Release
    Contact: Merel G. Nissenberg (619) 518-6465, (858) 459-0631
    Or Stan Rosenfeld (415) 459-4668, (415)290-6060
    October 20, 2011 La Jolla, California

    The National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions and the California Prostate Cancer Coalition emphatically reject the proposed “D” Prostate Cancer Recommendation of the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
    The proposed Guideline of the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force would recommend the PSA blood test for prostate cancer only if the patient has prostate symptoms. However, by the time a patient has symptoms the disease is usually late-stage (advanced) and cannot be cured. The USPSTF’s proposed “D” Recommendation AGAINST THE USE OF PSA “in healthy (asymptomatic) men” is a mis-interpretation of existing clinical trial data that would discourage men from asking for the PSA and excuse their physicians from failing to offer and discuss it with them. The National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions (NASPCC) and the California Prostate Cancer Coalition (CPCC) heartily endorse the use of PSA for men beginning at age 40 (35 if high-risk). It’s the best test we currently have for prostate cancer and, in conjunction with a digital rectal examination it should be offered until more sensitive/specific biomarkers are approved by the FDA. NASPCC and CPCC do not support unnecessary treatment; however, the USPSTF Recommendation would prevent men with potentially deadly disease from learning their true diagnosis in time for curative care and would condemn them to a miserable death.
    According to Merel Nissenberg, president of CPCC and NASPCC, “Knowledge is power. Testing for and diagnosing prostate cancer does not have to lead to over-treatment; men with clinically insignificant prostate cancer can select Active Surveillance, and those with aggressive cancer can be treated. When balancing the possible side effects of treatment against the saving of a life, most men would choose to live.”
    The California Prostate Cancer Coalition (CPCC) is a coalition of doctors, prostate cancer survivors (and families), nurses, support groups and others concerned about prostate cancer in California.
    The National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions (NASPCC) is an umbrella organization meant to encompass participation by all states – through their state prostate cancer coalitions, state prostate cancer task forces or state prostate cancer foundations.

    • John Downes on

      I am in compete agreement with your groups well thought out, clearly expressed message. We as prostate cancer patients need to stay informed, stand together and speak up on issues pertaining to our health and care. Only people who are fighting our battle or understand our disease should be allowed to speak for us and recommend what tests or treatments we should have.
      Me and many others I know are alive and doing well because of the PSA and digital rectal exam and treatments we had when we were diagnose with prostate cancer. I had no symptoms.
      Because of these tests and the follow up care I had I was able to enjoy my last daughters wedding, the joy of two more grand children, weddings, anniversaries, graduations and the celebration of (50) years of marriage to my wife.
      I am active in our Us TOO group along with a prostate spore group.
      Thank You again.

      John Downes

  18. Mary on

    Thank you so much Dr. Myers. This video beautifully summarizes all of the common sense perspectives that leave me slack jawed at this unbelievably backwards recommendation.

    You also touch on the Veteran population who are at an increased… this in particular is appalling… these men – who put their lives on the line for our country, and deserve the utmost respect for that alone, are again disregarded in that often times that service in and of itself appears to increase prostate cancer risk…

    Thank you again for posting this statement.

    Mary (Bob’s daughter)

  19. tombenjey on

    Thank you for producing this most informative video. My wife thought it curious that the report recommending against screening for prostate cancer was released by a female pediatrician. People I talk with see through the policies of the government breast and prostate cancer panels. They’re pretty transparent and people are seeing through them.

    I am a Vietnam vet who thought he came out of the war unscathed but, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer on Feb 1 at age 64, learned from an old sergeant who I served with at Bien Hoa AB that we were exposed to Agent Orange. I learned a lot more along the way. A positive is that the government via the VA is makes disability payments and treatment available to veterans. The negative is that they don’t publicize it to the general public so that those of us who didn’t make a career of the military are largely unaware of the benefits that are available to help us. Another negative is that the VA takes a long time, seven months in my case, approving disabilities and incorrectly disapprove of many legitimate claims.

    Both my oncologist (a surgeon) and my family doctor recommended watchful waiting because my cancer was detected early and the considerable probability of some nasty side effects of surgery and radiation. With a father about to turn 98 in December and a rapidly rising PSA, the liklihood of me having to deal with the cancer at some point seemed high. After doing some research, I opted for proton therapy because it gives me the best shot at avoiding the worst side effects. So far so good.

    While undergoing treatment, I wrote a short book titled, “Prostate Cancer and the Veteran,” to help others who find themselves in a similar situation. Now if a veterans group would print a zillion copies of it and give them to veterans.

    • Bill Irwin on

      Dr. Fellow Vet, I was in the Marines and in Vietnam from Aug 66 to Sept 67. I am 65 and had my prostate removed in 10/09, 39 radiation treatments, and hormone therapy. I stopped the ADT for side effects and wanted improved quality of life. I am anticipating going to see Dr. Myers. First I have heard of agent orange exposure causing prostate cancer. If you were in Vietnam, all of us were exposed to agent orange. Since you have been contacting the VA, is this something I should pursue? I do have a copy of my DD214. Not sure what I would be entitled to if any but thought I would check with you. My home email is Thanks for your service as well.

      Highest Regards,

      Bill Irwin
      Columbus Ohio

    • David Powers on

      Until reading this material today, I had not given serious thought to the Agent Orange factor. I’m 65 and was diagnosed with high risk prostate cancer on 2/14/11 — PSA was 60.5 at the time, Gleason was 8(4+4). My wife and I have spent a lot of time analyzing habits, diet, toxin exposure, an so on, trying to understand the origin(s) of this cancer. I once thought that my time in Nam could have something to do with it.

      I was in the Mekong Delta — SocTrang from May 1967 to Aug 1967, and then was transfered to Dragon Mountain below Pleiku untll I came back to the world in Jun 1968. I spend a lot of time in the boonies (Ba Me Thuot, Dak To, etc.) so the Agent Orange “connection” to my cancer is very viable.

      Any chance of putting your book online as a PDF download. How did you go about making a claim for the cancer as service caused/related disability.

      Thanks for your comments and the “heads up”. I’m afraid there may be a number of folks with our same condition, and they should have an opportunity to understand the possible risks.

      Of course, all Viet Nam Veterans should be PSA tested sufficiently to determine that that *DON’T* have any indication of incipient prostate cancer, and that would be the exact opposite of the recommendation of this idiotic commission.

      Good luck to you (an us all in the same boat).

      David Powers

      • tombenjey on


        The book is available on-line in both Nook and Kindle formats. PDFs can be manipulated fairly easily to make it appear the book says things I never intended to say, so it will not be made available as a PDF. The print version is discounted by both B&N and Amazon. To answer your other question, you need to demonstrate three things (four if you’re married):

        1. That you have a better than dishonorable discharge (your DD-214 will show that),
        2. That you were ON THE GROUND in Vietnam in the period Agent Orange spraying was going on (your orders should suffice for that. if you don’t have them, read my book),
        3. A diagnosis of prostate cancer (the pathologist’s report should suffice, but they will want to contact your urologist),
        4. Marriage license (if married).

        You can start the process on-line at

        Start the process today by submitting an incomplete application right now to get the clock ticking. Forward missing evidence to the VA when you get it.

        I hope this helps.


  20. Gaz Haring on

    I guess I have a different view. I carry health insurance but it is major medical and the annual deduction is large so until that deductable is reached almost all my health expenses are my personal responsibility. I started testing my PSA long before my insurance carrier would cover it. I paid for it out of pocket along with a lot of other things I felt would be beneficial to me. Most recently, I traveled to 7 different doctors, paying for it out of pocket, before I was able to put together my prostate cancer team. I educated myself along the way and that also wasn’t cheep or endorsed by the government or my insurance company. I am not complaining because I feel everyone has to take responsibility for their own health. If the government tells us PSA testing is bad WE do not have to accept it. If the insurance company will not cover something important, get it done anyway. Don’t get me wrong. I think the government should get out of health care or at least take the Hippocratic Oath because it seems to do more harm than good. It certainly shouldn’t suppress information, something it does very well, and I never imagined for a moment that it cared about my personal health. I have nothing nice to say about the insurance companies but always remember they are driven by profits, don’t ever forget this fact.

    Ultimately it is up to the individual to take control of their health and not subjugate to a government or the insurance companies lobbyist that don’t have the patients best interest at heart. Unfortunately, we allow economics to control our health care system. We as patients are as much to blame for this as the other parties involved. We whine over rate increases and taxes, rightly so but our message is muddled and misinterpreted. If you do not like what you see change it at the ballot box and let your representatives know how you feel. Can you tell that I write my reps all the time. Dr. Meyers is a pioneer and a gentleman of the highest order and as stated in these many post he is spot on when it comes to this subject but he is only one man and could use some help. Write your rep today.

    There, my first post and I think I stepped in it.

  21. John Downes on

    Thank You Dr. Myers for all you do.
    You are an inspiration to us. You have helped a good number of people I know and your work and opinion are well recognized and respected.
    Thanks again for being there for us.

    John Downes

  22. […] You can view Dr. Myers’s first post on PSA screening here. […]

  23. Jose Ganddini on

    Very much on the mark Dr. Myers, thanks for your information. I’m a cancer survivor, 3 years on watchful waiting. The information regarding the aging and treatment of the men that have given service, is something this country needs better awareness as stated. My father had aggressive Prostate Cancer at a late age, unbeknown to us the PSA testing that he should have had, had not taken place. The fact that testing should occur as early as the age of 35 should be a common practice with family history. Would like to know if possible what action we can take to participate in to bring a broader awareness of this tremendous need? Will search for your newsletter. Thanks again for your great videos and support.

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