Letter to the Editor: FELLOW VETERAN COUNTERS BAGROSKY PSA FEARS

To the Editor,

Because the VA didn’t test his PSA, Martin Bagrosky goes on a rant about Obamacare, and is concerned about Sarah Palin’s death panels. Richard J. Ablin discovered the PSA test in 1970 and now disowns it because its popularity “has led to a hugely expensive public health disaster.” The annual bill is $3 billion and climbing. Why is it still used? Because drug companies continue peddling the tests and advocacy groups push “prostate cancer awareness.” The Preventive Services Task Force (the federal panel empowered to evaluate cancer screening tests) recommended against PSA screening for men 75 or older.

The test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. It can’t detect cancer and it can’t distinguish between two types of cancer–the one that will kill you and the one that won’t. Mr. Bagrosky is worried about costs and who is deciding which tests he receives. Yet he is demanding a near worthless test the inventor of which no longer wants deployed for mass screening. Yes, the test is age driven, and hopefully you will not get a false positive that immediately sends you for a VA biopsy. As Dr. Ablin said, “I never dreamed my discovery would lead to such a profit-driven disaster.”

If one is concerned with costs, this is a perfect place to start.

Jeff Davis, (VA user also)
Chestnut Ridge