NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -

Let's hope there isn't political pressure on prostate CA screening recommendations

Something doesn’t smell right about the announcement that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force cancelled its November meeting – a meeting at which a new vote was to be taken on prostate cancer screening recommendations. I’ve been assured by some who are very close to the process that there’s nothing fishy – that it was just a matter of scheduling. But it’s been suggested to me by others who are close to the process that scheduling was not the issue – and that there is, indeed, reason for suspicion.

I’m slow to conjure up goblins or boogeymen – even at this time of year. But I inherited some fairly strong (and often frightfully accurate) intuition from my 88-year old Irish mother, and my antennae are up on this one.

Katherine Hobson broke the ice on the issue on her Wall Street Journal Health blog today. Excerpts:

“As you may remember, it was also November that the USPSTF published its updated recommendations for breast-cancer screening, which quickly got caught up in the political maelstrom surrounding health-care-overhaul. The panel wasn’t prepared for the controversy created by its recommendation that women aged 40-49 who are at average risk of breast cancer should discuss the benefits and risks of screening with a physician rather than getting it as a matter of course.

(The task force chairman) had no comment on whether the timing of the November meeting — overlapping with Election Day — played any role at all in its cancellation, though the group’s decision wouldn’t have been publicized for a while in any case.”

Thanks to Hobson for breaking this story.

You might also like

Comments (2)

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.

Michael Kirsch, M.D.

October 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

Prostate cancer screening with the reflexively ordered PSA violates the fundamental precept of medicine to do no harm. It harms plenty and it helps few. This is not news. The sorry performance of this screening test has been known for decades. Yet, its adherents defend it passionately, leaping over the solid evidence that shows it to be a failed and dangerous strategy. See