As experts alter course on guidelines for cancer screenings such as mammograms and the prostate-specific antigen test, the general public is understandably confused.
Women at age 40 wonder if they should have a mammogram to look for breast cancer or wait until 50, as one U.S. organization suggests. Men of an age when prostate cancer develops may be told to forgo the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, contrary to standard past practice. And sexually active women may not feel safe from cervical cancer if they wait years between Pap tests.
“It’s difficult to accept that having less testing is either as good or even better than having more,” said Dr. Robert Mayer, faculty vice president for academic affairs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.