Navigation Links
Prostate Cancer Over-Diagnosed: Study

The result is over-treatment for many men, researchers say

MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Mass screening for prostate cancer with a test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has led to mass over-diagnosis and over-treatment, a new study contends.

Since the PSA screening test came into use in 1986, federal government data show that the number of prostate cancer cases in the United States has risen substantially, said the report in the Aug. 31 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Treatments for prostate cancer include surgery and radiation therapy, and possible side effects are incontinence and impotency.

"The ideal screening test would have no effect on the number of cases," said study co-author Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Medical School's Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. "It would change the time in life that the cancers were diagnosed, but not the number. Instead, there has been a sustained change in the number of cases -- 1.3 million more that would not have been diagnosed previously."

The death rate from prostate cancer has fallen in the United States, but not necessarily because of mass screening, Welch contended. "There are a number of reasons why mortality might fall, but the most obvious is that we have better treatment," he said. "Even without early detection, I expect mortality would fall."

Results of a European study reported earlier this year indicated that "to save the life of one man, 50 must be over-diagnosed," he said.

Guidelines for screening for blood levels of PSA -- a protein produced by the prostate gland -- differ widely. The American Cancer Society says that a PSA test should be offered at age 50, accompanied by an explanation of the potential benefits and hazards. The American Urological Association recommends a first PSA test at age 40, with follow-ups depending not only on the test score but also on factors such as ethnicity.

"The recommendations on this are all over the map, and that's because it's a close call," Welch said. "Different people look at the numbers and come to different conclusions. There is the potential to help some people and hurt some people."

In his own medical practice, Welch said, "I try to stay away from this one. If someone asks me, I explain the risks and the benefits."

Given the unknowns, it's entirely appropriate for a man to decide on having a PSA test without advice from a physician, Welch said.

But Dr. Judd Moul, director of the Duke University Prostate Center, after reading the new study, said, "This is not going to change my mind on the issue of screening." Moul recommends an initial PSA test at age 40, with follow-up if necessary.

"We now do have the potential for over-detection, but we still have 30,000 men a year dying from prostate cancer, and the best way to prevent deaths from prostate cancer is still screening," Moul said.

Both Moul and Welch agree that the PSA test is decidedly imperfect because it can't distinguish between the majority of prostate cancers that grow so slowly that they are no danger to a man's life and the fast-growing minority that are potentially fatal and require decisive treatment.

"Right now we don't have that magic biomarker," Moul said. "So I think it is more important to try to reduce the number of deaths than to worry about over-detection."

"I wouldn't expect one to come soon," Welch said, referring to a specific test for virulent prostate cancer. "So we will continue to find a lot of it, and a lot of it that doesn't matter."

More information

Learn about prostate cancer from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: H. Gilbert Welch, M.D., professor, medicine, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, N.H.; Judd Moul, M.D., director, Duke Prostate Center, Durham, N.C.; Aug. 31, 2009, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Watchful waiting is a viable option for prostate cancer patients with low-risk tumors
2. Prostate Net Announces: Inaugural Fore! Informed Decisions Golf Outing
3. Prostate cancer: Racial disparity gap narrows, men diagnosed at younger age
4. Tennis Legend John McEnroe Tells Men to Get Serious About Prostate Cancer
5. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer patients with heart conditions linked to increased death risk
6. Hormone Therapy for Early Prostate Cancer Not Always Best
7. Hall of Fame Quarterback Takes Hit From Prostate Cancer, Urges Men to be Proactive About Their Own Prostate Health
8. Treating Prostate Cancer: Old School vs. New School
9. Prostate Net Announces: Major Medical Education Initiative for Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Professionals
10. Prostate Cancer Kills - Every 20 Minutes; September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
11. Obesity Tied to Prostate Cancer Recurrence
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Prostate Cancer Over-Diagnosed: Study
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Until now, the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute ... of Myelomeningocele Study) trial. One of these exclusion criteria was a BMI above 34.9. ... to 24.9 is considered normal, 25 - 29.9 is overweight and above 30 is ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Thermi™, a world ... announce that its ThermiRFR temperature controlled radiofrequency platform has received CE marking and ... platform which uses temperature as a clinical endpoint. The technology has been ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The world of hair transplants and restoration is ... These techniques and procedures have been in use for many years and are among ... Parsa Mohebi, M.D. has utilized many of these methods over the years, he also ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The presidential race normally ... styling. So why is it a national news story when Donald Trump makes disparaging ... M.D., because appearances count more than anyone wants to admit when it comes to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... According to Los ... people to overeat are not necessarily caused by real hunger, but instead by ... needs food. He notes that, while many patients are aware that weight loss surgery ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015   Royal Philips  (NYSE: PHG ... Radiology Solutions, a fully integrated, consultative approach to ... data-driven practice management approaches that combine imaging systems, ... improve care delivery and reduce costs. Making its ... North America Annual Meeting (RSNA) in ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- global cell culture market is expected to ... by 2022 at a CAGR of 7.1% therein. --> ... 2013 value of US$6.1 bn to US$11.3 bn by 2022 at ... has announced the release of a new market research study, detailing ... Culture Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015   Royal Philips ... Implant, the industry,s first MRI guided user interface and ... of patients with MR Conditional implants, such as knee ... 2015 Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting ... and supports diagnostic confidence of this growing patient population. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: