Recent studies show that since the implementation of new screening guidelines among U.S. doctors, fewer early-stage cases of prostate cancer have been detected. This means one of two things is likely happening: either doctors are having better conversations with male patients about cancer screening or doctors are not offering screening because of the new guidelines. Either way, something potentially problematic is happening: doctors are failing to catch some cases of prostate cancer early.
Failing to catch prostate cancer early should be a major concern for males in New Jersey and across the nation. That's because this type of cancer can grow and spread to other areas of the body. Though treatment options are available at all four stages of prostate cancer, as the disease progresses, a patient's survival rate decreases.
Though disability benefits are available for people with prostate cancer, it can be difficult to gain access to these benefits without a proper diagnosis. Without early screening, a patient may not catch the disease soon enough to gain access to benefits before they succumb to it. This is incredibly problematic, as you can imagine, for both patients and their families.
Men who are considered high risk for prostate cancer – whether because of a predisposition to the disease or family history – will continue to receive early screening and potentially an early diagnosis for the disease. For those men who are not considered at risk, talking to your doctor about early screening may not be such a bad idea, especially because such a conversation could mean the difference between early diagnosis and access to disability benefits, and the possibility of catching the disease too late.
Sources: Tech Times, "As Fewer Men Get Screened For Prostate Cancer, Early Detection Figures Also Drop," Jim Algar, Nov. 18, 2015
The Social Security Administration, "DI 23022.282 Prostate Cancer," Accessed Nov. 18, 2015
The Nation Cancer Institute, "Prostate Cancer Treatment," Accessed Nov. 18, 2015