Local Connection: Prostate Cancer Awareness

By Rick Blangiardi

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Question: what do old guys think about all the time? And young guys try never to think about it?

Answer: their prostate.

In recent years, to try to catch prostate cancer early, doctors have given middle-aged men a test called the PSA.

And a lot of guys have wound up getting drugs or treatments that lead to unpleasant side effects. Did I put that gingerly enough?

The New York Times reports that a federal medical advisory panel is about to recommend stopping all that.

The report will apparently recommend discontinuation of PSA's for men with no symptoms.

Apparently they couldn't find any evidence it was saving anybody.

Do you remember a controversy two years ago over a recommendation to pull back on mammograms? Same panel.

Doctors are trying to control costs, which will soon account for a fifth of all U.S. economic activity.

But this panel's recommendation reminds us that it's people's lives we're talking about.

Take it from me, controlling costs is tough enough in an enterprise that isn't life-or-death. Imagine what the medical profession is up against.

Copyright Hawaii News Now 2011. All rights reserved.