PSA tests don’t save lives

The best way to protect your prostate is to keep it far away from doctors who want to screen it — and even further from the surgeons who make a living off prostate cancer procedures.

Not long ago, this was considered a rogue approach.

Today, it’s mainstream science — and another study confirms again that all the screenings in the world don’t save lives.

Simply put, the government-funded study of 76,000 men who were tracked for 13 years finds that annual PSA tests don’t make a bit of difference in determining who lives and who dies.

It’s not hard to see why: PSA tests can’t sort the rare, aggressive and deadly tumors from the ones you don’t need to worry about — and even when they do detect high-risk cancers, it’s too late.

As a result, men in both groups — those who were screened every year, and those who were not — died of the disease at the same rate, according to the study results published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

But don’t be fooled by the scare tactics: Most men who have prostate cancer live with it for years or even decades, and eventually die of something else entirely.

And until screenings came along, most of these men never even knew they had prostate cancer.

Ignorance was truly bliss.

Today, when men find out they have the disease, they panic and get treated for it — but if it doesn’t reduce the death rate, why bother even finding out in the first place?

That’s the bottom line here, and if you’re thinking “better safe than sorry,” think again. Prostate surgery won’t keep you safe… and it’ll almost certainly leave you sorry — sorry you ever agreed to surgery.

The procedure that’s been proven NOT to save your life can ruin it more than your doctors will ever let on. Men who wake up after prostate surgery often find they’ve lost all control “down there” and face long battles with incontinence and impotence.

Plenty of men never recover.

When you consider the decades you can live after a prostate cancer diagnosis — with or without surgery — that could add up to a quarter of your life or more, in diapers and unable to have sex.

Of course, you’ve probably heard commercials and seen ads for newer “robot” procedures that make it sound like they have fewer of these risks — but that’s just not reality.

Keep reading for the truth behind robot-assisted prostate surgeries.

High-tech doesn’t mean low-risk

I wouldn’t wish prostate surgery on my worst enemies.

Not only is it often completely unnecessary since prostate cancer isn’t nearly the killer it’s been made out to be — but the treatments themselves are often worse than the disease and come with more risks than your surgeon will ever let on.

And that’s true even if your surgeon happens to be made of metal.

Robot-assisted prostate surgeries have become all the rage in recent years, involved in up to 85 percent of all procedures in the United States.

But that’s not a triumph of technology so much as marketing: Many patients agree to them because they’ve been led to believe robo-surgeries are safer and better than traditional surgeries.

They’re not.

Researchers asked 600 Medicare patients who had undergone prostate surgery about their side effects, and a full 90 percent of them reported moderate to severe sexual dysfunction 14 months later.

It didn’t matter if they were among the 400 patients who got a robot-assisted procedure… or the 200 who got the traditional surgery. The results were the same either way.

And in both groups, about a third of the patients reported incontinence problems — with slightly more men in the robot group battling the leakage.

This isn’t some groundbreaking study, either. In fact, the research has been consistent: These high-tech procedures don’t lower the risks of side effects or even improve outcomes.

But while robots aren’t bringing better results to the OR, they’re delivering big on the balance sheet: Hospitals charge up to $2,000 more for robot-assisted surgeries.

They have to. The machines alone can cost several million dollars, not to mention training and maintenance fees.

Most hospitals have to take out loans to cover it all — and when you’ve got payment deadlines coming up, you’ve got extra pressure to make sure the machine starts bringing in cash the moment it’s plugged in.

That’s why hospitals that buy robots launch big, misleading ad campaigns — and that’s why studies have shown that facilities that get the machines begin doing more procedures almost overnight, even in areas where prostate surgeries in general are on the decline.

In a nutshell, that means hospitals and surgeons are aggressively pushing patients to not only get a surgery that research shows they don’t actually need, but a more expensive high-tech version of the procedure that doesn’t improve outcomes or even decrease the risk of side effects.

And people wonder why the healthcare system is a mess!

On a mission for your health,

Ed Martin
Editor, House Calls

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