Memorial Health doctor says new cancer screening guidelines could save lives

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A local doctor says brand new cancer screening guidelines for men will save lives.

Since 2012, the recommendation has been don't screen seemingly healthy men for prostate cancer using a PSA blood test.

The reason? Doctors say about 70 percent of the time you get a false positive, leading to costly, invasive, potentially dangerous further testing with possible bad side effects.

Now, they're throwing that thinking out the window. Here is the new recommendation.

In ages 55-69, even if they're asymptomatic, should have a conversation with their primary care provider and determine whether or not screening is appropriate for them," said Dr. Guy Petruzzelli, with Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial Health.

Dr. Petruzzelli at Memorial Health says the guideline change comes after several compelling studies.

"Although the overall mortality of prostate cancer really hasn't changed, the frequency of men who develop metastatic prostate cancer and subsequently require more expensive, more invasive, more challenging therapies has increased," Dr. Petruzzelli said. "'You have cancer,' is one of the hardest things I have to say every day."

Unfortunately, he says it too often.

"Just a little under 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the United States every year, around 180 of them are in Chatham County."

But he hopes better early detection will lead to better outcomes.

When asked if he thinks the new recommendation will save lives, he responded, "Yes, I do."

Dr. Petruzzelli says African-American men and men who have a family history of prostate cancer are the most at risk.

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