A debate over men's lives is unfolding all over the country. Now, a group of local doctors is fighting back against government recommendations about a common test that screens men for prostate cancer.
And one doctor in Nashville is part of a group of urologists who will no doubt have the final say in what happens.
Dr. Raoul Concepcion stays busy seeing patients at Urology Associates in Nashville. But he's also busy fighting a federal government panel that believes healthy men, and men who have no history of prostate disease, should no longer be screened for prostate cancer.
Concepcion is president of a national group of urologists who say the government is wrong.
"We are working with congressional people, we are working with patient advocacy groups, to basically come up with a stance - a paper - that refutes the argument," he said.
Twenty years ago, doctors came up with a blood test that many feel is better at detecting prostate disease. PSA, or Prostate Specific Antigen, is now being used along with digital exams to detect prostate problems.
But members of the government panel believe the PSA test is a bit too thorough and doctors unnecessarily treat slow-growing cancers the same way as more aggressive types, leaving some patients incontinent, impotent or worse.
"We are going to show the data they are using is not applicable to patients. We are trying to detect the cancer early," Concepcion said.
A year ago, a routine PSA test revealed a potential problem with John Nelson. More testing and a biopsy showed a type of prostate cancer that Nelson and his doctor felt would be best treated with surgery.
Nelson feels any move to eliminate PSA screenings for anyone is a mistake.
"I would say any male, especially African American males, would be engaging in a very dangerous crap shoot to even consider not having prostate testing done," Nelson said.
You may recall this same government agency, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, previously raised similar concerns about mammograms.
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