Date: January 20, 2016
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Dr. Keith Bleiler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Boston, MA) Dr. Keith Bleiler of Greater Boston Urology (GBU) will be featured on NPR’s The Point with Mindy Todd on Thursday, January 21st at 9 AM to discuss the new U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), screening recommendations for both prostate and breast cancer and whether it is in the best interest of patients.
In Massachusetts, prostate cancer kills more men each year than women with breast cancer, yet receives far less public recognition than breast cancer. Recently, USPSTF recommended against the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) based screening test, assigning it a D grade, which discourages the service.
But since 1989 when PSA screening began, doctors have seen a steady decline in prostate cancer deaths from screening.
“The studies that the USPSTF used to show no increase in mortality between screened and unscreened men is flawed,” said Bleiler, “We are already seeing a stage migration in the men being referred and newly diagnosed with prostate cancer.”
Bleiler concludes that the recent D grade for the PSA test is not based on the well-being of the patient, but rather on the flawed perspective that doctors do not have the best interest of the patient at heart, as well as skyrocketing health care costs, some of which is blamed on unnecessary testing.
“Every day, we see this when we order diagnostic testing and have to go through third party insurance companies challenging whether physicians are doing the right thing for our patients as a means to lower their costs,” said Dr. Bleiler.
“This can be tied to the next level of payment potentially — pay for performance–by insurers penalizing doctors who order PSA testing or mammograms,” Bleiler added.
One step policy makers should take is to involve patients in these decisions, as they are the ones paying for insurance premiums.
Dr. Bleiler admits that there are pitfalls with PSA screening tests, but the consequences of missing a diagnosis is much more problematic.
Ultimately, policy makers “should leave the decision to screen for prostate cancer with the doctors,” says Bleiler. “After all, they’re the ones who see patients every day.”
Greater Boston Urology offers comprehensive care throughout New England by providing its patients with highest quality treatment and services nationwide, using the most advanced technologies available. Upholding its commitment to excellence and innovation, GBU opened a state-of the-art laboratory in 2012, featuring both anatomic and molecular testing. The practice has seven offices in the communities of Falmouth, Framingham, Norwood, Hingham, Milton, North Easton, and Plymouth.
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