Prostate screening controversy

By Denise Jackson

May 22, 2012 Updated May 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill -- The federal government is sticking by its controversial proposal suggesting that healthy men should not get routine screenings for prostate cancer.

Federal officials are now saying the recommendation is not a mandate, but that patients who want the PSA tests can still get one.

Cancer survivor Dick Dodson says he is skeptical about the federal study which opposes routine prostate screenings for healthy men. Dodson says he considered himself healthy when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008.

"I don't think one size doesn't fits all. I don't think you can come out with a study that you can paint the landscape with. I think it varies with the individual and the diagnosis and the doctors recommendation," Dodson said.

Instead of surgery Dodson underwent a non-invasive procedure done with machines and had hardly any side effects.

According to a federal task force too many men suffer side effects, incontinence, impotence, heart attacks or even death and members say there's little evidence that PSA testing saves lives.

"We have convincing scientific evidence that there is at most a very small benefit," said Dr. Virginia Moyer of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Peoria urologist Joseph Banno disagrees adding that screenings lets them know who needs treatment and who needs to be monitored.

"When I first came to town 30 years ago we did not have PSA testing and the prostate cancer that I found were in patients that I was looking for benign disease and most of those patients had metastasize disease. We don't see that anymore because we are diagnosing and treating prostate cancer earlier," Banno said.

Dodson says he would repeat the same procedure if he had to do it again and hopes that the federal study will not make men lax about getting prostate screenings.