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Prostate Cancer Screening No Benefit to Older Men With Low PSA Levels
Date:9/13/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Although many men are concerned about prostate cancer, a new study finds that in men aged 55 to 74 with low levels of baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA), further screening and early detection of prostate cancer offer virtually no benefit.

Prostate cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths among men in Western countries, but most men with the disease won't die from it. In the United States, a man has about a 15.8 percent chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the risk of dying from it is only about 2.8 percent, the researchers said.

In recent years, large-scale studies have cast doubt on the value on routine PSA screening for most men and raised questions about whether such testing resulted in unnecessary, potentially harmful treatment -- an issue expanded on by the current investigation.

"Screening for prostate cancer has the potential to reduce prostate cancer mortality, but there is a large group of men with a moderately low PSA that will hardly have any benefits of further screening and early detection strategies," said lead researcher Dr. Pim van Leeuwen, from the department of urology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

"In these men, screening and early detection is likely to have little effect on the reduction of prostate cancer mortality, but a major negative effect on the quality of life," he added.

This study provides additional information on how the harms and benefits of screening, early detection and treatment relate to PSA level, van Leeuwen said.

The report is published in the Sept. 13 online edition of Cancer.

For the study, van Leeuwen's team compared prostate cancer deaths and PSA levels among 43,987 men aged 55 to 74. These men all took part in a large-scale study known as the European R
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