Getting Tested for Prostate Cancer May Be Worth It After All

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Getting Tested for Prostate Cancer May Be Worth It After All

Without any screening, she says, research shows that out of 1,000 men, about 25 to 30 will die from prostate cancer. PSA is also unable to distinguish between slow-growing and fast-growing cancers, said the committee.

55 and 70 get the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test, the result is lives saved.

This recommendation was based on the results of two large studies one each from Europe and USA. (For most men, prostate cancer isn't fatal.) So in 2012, the U.S.

The findings, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, defies existing United Kingdom guidance which does not now recommend universal screening.

Etzioni was part of a team from the University of MI and the National Cancer Institute that used a new mathematical model to re-analyze data from two major clinical trials: the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) and the USA -based Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO), which offered conflicting results. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a recommendation that most men ages 55 to 69-except for those who have a family history of the disease or are at high risk of developing the cancer-should not get PSA testing at all.

In the US, that led to a surge in what some doctors view as unnecessary medical treatments that put men at risk without providing them much benefit.

Men trying to follow the advice on whether they should get screened for prostate cancer have always been confused, since guidelines and recommendations keep changing.

However, the authors of the latest analysis note that the USA recommendation relies heavily on results from the ERSPC (European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer) and the PLCO (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial), which offer conflicting results. There was no clear "control" group in the US trial, where no patients received PSA testing.

Etzioni said the new results don't mean all men should be screened for prostate cancer. Etzioni's team compared men in the two trials based on the intensity of screening they received.

Because of this, Etzioni believes the decision about PSA screening will continue to be an individual choice for each man, after consulting with his doctor.

The current results should give more men and their doctors confidence that PSA testing can detect cancers, and that doing so could prolong their lives. Most men with prostate cancer die of other causes, and many never know that they have the disease. "It's important to take a deliberate, thorough and cautious approach to managing prostate cancer".

As a result, it's often reasonable to monitor prostate cancers instead of treating them, since the side effects of treatment - which can include incontinence and impotence - may be more harmful than helpful.

The author of an accompanying editorial says he hopes the paper will put to rest the question of whether PSA screening reduces prostate cancer mortality.

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