Screening may do more harm than good

I am perturbed. The US Preventive Services Task Force, a government health body, has decided that doctors should stop offering prostate-cancer screening to men over 75.

It has made a definitive statement: “Do not screen for prostate cancer in men age 75 years or older.” But instead of happy relief at this rare outbreak of common sense, there has been outcry.

Men’s health, the accusations go, is being left out in the cold, for dead. Since I wrote a few lines on this subject on my FT blog, I have received a stream of unhappy e-mails from people distressed that they might now not be recommended to have this “life-saving blood test”. One said: “I feel like I’ve been thrown on the scrapheap.”

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