Final advice: Panel against routine prostate exam

Healthy men shouldn’t get routine prostate cancer screenings, says updated advice from a government panel that found the PSA blood tests do more harm than good.

Despite protests from urologists, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is sticking by a contentious proposal it made last fall.

A final guideline published Monday says there’s little if any evidence that PSA testing saves lives — while too many men suffer impotence, incontinence, heart attacks, occasionally even death from treatment of tiny tumors that never would have killed them.

The guideline isn’t a mandate. The task force stresses that men who want a PSA test still can get one, but only after the doctor explains the uncertainties. That’s in part because the panel found that PSA testing hasn’t been studied adequately in black men and men with prostate cancer in the family, who are at highest risk of the disease.

The Obama administration said Monday that Medicare will continue to pay for PSA screenings, a simple blood test. Other insurers tend to follow Medicare’s lead.

The controversy will end only with development of better tests — to finally tell which men’s tumors really will threaten their lives, said Dr. Virginia Moyer of the Baylor College of Medicine, who heads the task force.


Man survives plunge of 180 feet over falls

A man survived a plunge of at least 180 feet over Niagara Falls in an apparent suicide attempt Monday — only the third person known to have lived after going over the falls without a safety device.

Niagara Parks Police said witnesses reported seeing the man climb over a railing 20 to 30 feet out over the Horseshoe Falls at 10:20 a.m. and “deliberately jump.”

He surfaced in the lower Niagara River basin near the Journey Behind the Falls observation platform and made it to shore on his own.

The man was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital with what police initially said were life-threatening injuries. Hospital spokeswoman Agnes Bongers said later that the man was critically injured but was expected to survive.

Authorities did not release the man’s name.


Army: Gang leaders ordered 49 to be killed, dumped

Army officials Monday said leaders of the Zetas gang ordered the killing of the 49 people whose mutilated bodies were dumped in the northern state of Nuevo Leon on May 13.

Army officials paraded suspect Daniel de Jesus Elizondo Ramirez before the news media, saying he was one of those assigned by Heriberto Lazcano and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales to kill the 43 men and six women and dump them.

Army Brig. Gen. Edgar Villegas Melendez said that henchmen were ordered to leave the bodies in the main plaza of the town of Cadereyta. But he said Elizondo Ramirez apparently lost his nerve and instead left the bodies next to a nearby highway.

— From news service reports