Professor of medicine says NO to the PSA test…

And writes up his story in Forbes

The “prostate cancer” Blue Ribbon

It’s really great to see the super-smart, educated physicians of mainstream medicine coming to their senses regarding our huge $100 billion disease-screening business in this country. The most recent is Steven Salzberg and the headline of his article was: “PSA tests might hurt a lot more than you think.” (See link below) But before getting into the article, let’s take a look at his impressive credentials: (from his website)

Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. B.A. and M.S. at Yale University, and Ph.D. at Harvard University, published over 200 scientific papers.

His Bottom Line on PSA testing. After reviewing the risks and rewards of having the test, he finished his well-written article thusly,

“At my last checkup, my doctor asked if I wanted a PSA test.  I told him no thanks.”

So what led him to that decision? A simple review of the facts from an independent task force that doesn’t benefit financially from you having the PSA test done every year—unlike the urologists who perform the procedure. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated their conclusions succinctly:

“There is moderate certainty that the benefits of PSA-based screening for prostate cancer do not outweigh the harms.” (USPSTF, Annals of Internal Medicine, 22 May 2012)

They seem to  pretend the risks of long-term incontinence or E.D. are non-existent.

The reaction from the American Urological Association? What do you think? They had the same reaction that any business executive would have if Consumer Reports had condemned their most profitable product. They howled in protest and released a blunt statement:

“The AUA is outraged and believes that the Task Force is doing men a great disservice by disparaging what is now the only widely available test for prostate cancer, a potentially devastating disease.”

What about the risks? As Dr. Salzberg reported in his article: “The effects of treatment are serious: 20-30% of men treated with surgery and radiation suffer from long-term incontinence and erectile dysfunction.” Pretty serious stuff that the AUA seems to ignore. Of course, they do have a lot of money on the line.

What about screening for colon or breast cancer? I am confident that if Dr. Salzberg knew all the facts about those two diseases and the risk reduction that was possible with a whole foods, plant-based diet that he would probably say “No thanks” when his doctor asks him if he would like to have a colonoscopy.

How so? Like PSA testing, the colonoscopy has become ubiquitous and is accepted without question by almost everyone. That’s because there is a 7% risk of dying from colon cancer in this country. But what if that risk of dying was less than one percent? One also must consider the risks of the colonoscopy itself. Complications occur in some 60,000 people per year in the USA; things like a perforated colon, excessive bleeding or death.

After studying about the power of whole foods, plant-based nutrition since 2002, my decision is to say “No thanks” to all forms of screening. I simply do not wish to be a customer of that $100 billion + business in this country. That’s because I believe that I have lowered my risks to less than one percent AND I doubt that I would submit myself to the surgery if cancer were detected anyway.

Dr. Steven Salzberg

My bottom line. Screening for cancer and heart disease is big business and will continue to grow until people learn the facts about what is happening. Until people realize that early detection is not the same as true prevention, the screening business will continue to flourish. For true prevention, we must address the causative factors before they trigger disease.

Since Dr. Salzberg didn’t mention the power of whole foods, plant-based eating to prevent, slow, stop or reverse cancer—I assume that he has not yet been enlightened. His background summary on his website would suggest otherwise. It appears that he is into high-tech medicine, most of which would be unnecessary if everyone was eating an optimal diet. Nevertheless, his article was an excellent summary of all the latest news about PSA testing and I encourage you to read it:

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Professor of medicine says NO to the PSA test…

  1. Jeffrey Dach says:

    PSA screening has eliminated advanced prostate cancer for the most part. However, according to Dr Welch in August JNCI, one million men were overdiagnosed and overtreated for prostate cancer over the last twenty years.

    Was PSA Screening for Prostate Cancer a 20 year failed Medical Experiment ?

    For More:

    jeffrey dach md

  2. Lester Sukenik says:

    Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the young age of 49. This was found by using the PSA test and then confirmed by biopsy. If I had not had the PSA I probably would have gone another 5 or 6 years without knowing a tumor was present in ny prostate and possibly could have died before reaching my present age of 68. There is much more to understand about the PSA. Knowing what I know now about a plant strong lifestyle I most likely would have used a plant strong 4 leaf diet to slow or reverse the progression of this disease. I’m very interested in seeing how Dr. Ornish’s study continues to reverse prostate cancer. But having no knowledge of this eating lifestyle back in 1992 I chose surgery and feel it was the right choice at the time. We know so much more now and I’m happy that I’m alive and well to continue to learn more everyday about how maintaining a 4 leaf lifestyle contributes to my health. The best part is educating others on how to obtain better health through this program. The really hard part is finding people who will listen with an open mind. Just this last weekend my sister-in-law asked me about how I got my protein? My answer fell on deaf ears. She’s over weight and on some meds but eating a 4-leaf diet was not an option and she has a PhD in psychology! I think sometimes the smarter you are the less you are open to views that go against the status quo. My thoughts are that today the plant based lifestyle is you best medicine to prevent, reverse or stop most diseases of affluence that are caused by eating a western diet. Thanks for another informative blog! / Les

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