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Dropping prostate cancer rates may not mean less cancer

Men in Wisconsin might be aware that data shows the early detection rates of prostate cancer in men over age 50 has been dropping. The problem, however, is that fewer men are receiving prostate cancer screening, meaning the declining rates may not actually reflect the true extent of prostate cancer among men.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force concluded in 2012 that too many prostate cancer screening tests were being conducted. Many men end up developing prostate cancer when they are elderly, but since the cancer is normally a slow-growing one, it often doesn't cause them to die. The task force felt that aggressive treatment of prostate cancer might thus do more harm than good, and doctors reacted to the report by significantly dropping the number of screenings performed.

According to the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, whether or not to get screened for prostate cancer should be a jointly made decision between a man and his doctor. How that decision was arrived at should be clearly documented.

Medical malpractice can include failures to diagnose diseases and conditions. If a man was not screened for prostate cancer and the doctor did not discuss whether or not to get a screening, the man may have a case if they develop aggressive prostate cancer. Men who have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer may want to insist that they are screened for the disease. Catching a cancer early can improve the person's ultimate prognosis and help to extend their life.

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