Health Buzz: Prostate Cancer Screening Findings and Other Health News

Circumcision as a public health issue; choosing between the ER, urgent care, and in-store clinics


Study Finds PSA Test Leads to Overdetection of Prostate Cancer

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening test, used to detect prostate cancer since 1986, has led to more men being diagnosed and perhaps overtreated for prostate cancer, a new study suggests. The number of men diagnosed has increased by 1.3 million, according to study coauthor Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at Dartmouth University. He told HealthDay that ideally, a test to screen for prostate cancer would affect the age at which cancer patients are diagnosed, not the number of cancer cases diagnosed. The test also does not differentiate between slow-growing and rare, aggressive cancers, Reuters reports. Study results were published yesterday online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Learn 11 things to know about prostate cancer and how to prevent it, along with the latest pros and cons of PSA testing.

Should Circumcision Become Public Health Policy?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused quite a stir last week when word slipped out that the agency was considering, for the first time, making public health recommendations concerning circumcision, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz reports.

CDC officials are reviewing the latest studies from Africa showing reduced rates of HIV infection in men who were circumcised as adults. These studies also found that circumcised men were less likely to become infected with the herpes virus and the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer in women. From this, many experts have concluded that circumcised men are less likely to spread certain sexually transmitted diseases to women. Hence, some say, circumcision should be advocated for newborns as part of a public health campaign, Kotz writes. Read more.

In July, Kotz wrote about a Lancet study that found that circumcision of HIV-infected men does not reduce the rate of HIV transmission to their female partners. Here's a look at past studies that have fueled the circumcision debate.

Choosing Between the Urgent Care Center, In-Store Clinic, and ER

Feeling sick—or you have a kid who does—but you find out that your doctor's office cannot fit you in for another week? Depending on where you live, you may have several places to turn, including an urgent care clinic and an in-store "retail clinic" set up in a grocery store or pharmacy along with the local hospital emergency department, U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf reports. Baldauf talked with healthcare providers to find out which level of care to seek for which ailments.

The emergency department can handle everything, but the wait time and cost can be factors, Baldauf writes. In-store clinics, like those offered by MinuteClinic, located in certain CVS pharmacies, have a specific menu of services that would usually be addressed in the office of a primary-care physician. Care is typically given by nurse practitioners who can write prescriptions.

Urgent care clinics, on the other hand, are staffed by doctors trained in primary care or emergency medicine, often along with nurses. Those run by doctors trained in emergency medicine might cater more to one-time issues, like a cut or ankle sprain, while those run by doctors trained in family medicine might serve as a regular source of primary care—offering well-baby exams, pap smears, and prescriptions for chronic conditions, like high cholesterol or hypertension. Read more.

Consider these 8 reasons kids end up in the ER—and how to prevent it. And find out where to turn when you need immediate medical care.

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