(NaturalNews) The verdict is in -- PSA tests for prostate cancer are unreliable, and do not offer men any tangible benefit in lifespan or quality of life. These are the conclusions of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (PSTF), which found that many more men are injured by PSA tests than are helped by it.
PSA, also known as prostate specific antigen, is a biological marker that doctors and healthcare practitioners often use to detect the presence of a potential prostate tumor. Since PSA levels in the blood are known to climb in response to prostate tumors, it is commonly thought that early detection can help in mitigating the cancer.
But there are numerous reasons why PSA blood levels can increase, including prostatitis (inflammation or infection in the prostate gland), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and even rigorous physical activity. Many prostate tumors that produce elevated PSA levels in the blood are also benign, and would never even cause any serious health problems.
According to ten years' worth of comprehensive data on the subject, PSTF determined that only one in 1,000 men screened with a PSA test will derive any potential benefit, while at least 100 will receive false positives. Many of those with false positives will end up receiving unnecessary biopsies, which can lead to further complications and needless bodily damage.
The same data found that a shocking 90 percent of men will be treated with surgery or radiation for cancers that are not even life-threatening. But five out of every 1,000 who undergo these treatments will die within a month of initiating them. In other words, more than ten percent of all men screened for prostate cancer will generate false positives that could result in death from treatment, while a mere .001 percent or less will derive any sort of benefit.
"There is a small potential benefit and a significant known harm," said Dr. Virginia A. Moyer, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and chair of the task force. She and her team are recommending that the PSA test for prostate cancer be abandoned altogether, and that patients avoid the test as part of their normal checkups.
How healthy diet and lifestyle can prevent prostate cancer
Preventing prostate cancer is a whole lot better than just occasionally screening for it or treating it conventionally after it has developed. Eating foods rich in natural zinc and selenium, or supplementing with whole food-based zinc and selenium supplements like those made by MegaFood, are two great ways to avoid developing prostate problems down the road.
Walnuts, tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, garlic, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, green tea, and pomegranate are just a few examples of some highly-beneficial, prostate health-promoting foods that can help ease inflammation and prevent the formation of tumors. The natural herbs astragalus, bloodroot, burdock root, chaparral, devil's claw, hydrangea root, isatis, licorice root, Pau d' Arco, pygeum, red clover, saw palmetto, and suma can also help promote prostate health and prevent prostate cancer.
Regularly engaging in rigorous exercise routines, sports, or other athletic activities has been shown to go a long way in preventing prostate cancer, as have kegel exercises, which specifically exercises the muscles around the prostate and improves blood flow to that area (http://urology.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=524).