Prostate Cancer – Is Prevention Worthwhile?

August 30th, 2013

In the landmark Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), Finasteride (PROSCAR®) reduced the risk of Prostate Cancer development and therefore the symptoms associated with it by 33%, compared to placebo. However,  in those who did develop Prostate Cancer while on PROSCAR®, there was an increased risk of more aggressive disease. After 18 years of follow up of these patients (NEJM 2013), it appears that in spite of this set back, there was no difference in the overall survival between the PROSCAR® group and the placebo group. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has been against Prostate Cancer screening, as the consensus is that majority of the Prostate Cancers detected by screening would never become apparent in an individual’s lifetime, if this individual was not screened and therefore would never cause a problem.  This long term data begs a very important question – Is it worthwhile taking PROSCAR® for Prostate Cancer prevention?