Less Prostate Cancer Screening, More Exercise recommended by American Urological Association
Two newsworthy events took place at the American Urological Association’s national conference in San Diego last week: one that affects the screening that men routinely undergo and the other that gives women an additional reason to exercise.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Since 2011, the United State Preventive Services Task Force has been discouraging the use of the prostate serum antigen (PSA)—once seen as a vital screening test to detect early stages of prostate cancer—in asymptomatic men. The rationale was that given the test’s low specificity, many more men were being negatively affected by prostate biopsies and prostate cancer treatments than were finding their lives prolonged by early detection. During this time, the AUA vigorously defended the practice of annual prostate cancer screening in men over the age of 40. However, now the association has reduced the age range of patients to be screened and the frequency of screening. According to the new guidelines, men between the ages of 55 to 69 years may be screened every two or more years due to the potential harms of overscreening.
Kidney Stones and Exercise
Apparently, even walking or gardening for a couple of hours a week–which isn’t an intensity level that leads to cardiovascular benefit–is enough to lower the risk of kidney stones in women by around 30%. The NIH-funded Women’s Health Initiative study recruited 85,000 women ages 50 and older. After excluding women who had a previous kidney stone and controlling for weight, height, and obesity level, surveys were distributed asking the women about the amount of exercise–measured in metabolic equivalents (METs)–they perform weekly. A review of the 2,400 women who were diagnosed with nephrolithiasis within the eight-year timeframe of the study found that exercise led to the following changes:
5 METs every week (walking one hour per week): 16% reduction of developing kidney stones
5 to 10 METs every week: 22-31% reduction of developing kidney stones
Greater than 10 METs every week: No additional benefit