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Unformatted text preview: Los Angeles Times: Prostate cancer screenings: a second opinion http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-welch1-20... 1 of 1 5/29/09 2:59 PM http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-welch1-2009apr01,0,4406014.story From the Los Angeles Times Opinion Prostate cancer screenings: a second opinion Doctors are rethinking the value of the tests because the disease is rarely a killer and the treatment can do serious harm. By H. Gilbert Welch April 1, 2009 Iprobably have prostate cancer. There's no need to feel sorry for me -- so do about half the men my age (I'm in my mid-50s). We doctors have learned this from microscopic examinations of the prostates of men who are autopsied following an accidental death. And the older men get, the more likely it is that they have prostate cancer. Autopsies of men in their 70s have found that about 80% of them had the disease. I almost certainly won't die from prostate cancer, however. The lifetime risk of prostate cancer death for American males is only about 3%. So, although the prevalence of the cancer may sound alarming, 97% of men will die from something else. These two observations have forced doctors to rethink what it means to have this cancer. Some have envisioned the problem to be like an iceberg. In the past, we only saw the part of the iceberg above the waterline -- the cancers that caused disease and death. With early detection, we can see below the waterline -- and there are a lot more cancers there. Many of these will never cause problems. They would have been better off undiagnosed. these will never cause problems....
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