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Prostate cancer screening program leads to bigger fall in death rates than surrounding areas
Date:4/22/2008

The expected number of deaths from prostate cancer more than halved in the Tyrol after a programme was introduced to improve early detection and treatment of the disease, according to research published in April issue of the urology journal BJU International.

Nearly 87 per cent of eligible men have been tested at least once since the programme was introduced in 1988. By 2005 cancer deaths had fallen by 54 per cent, compared with 29 per cent for the rest of Austria, which hadnt benefited from the programme.

There is no evidence that trends in the Tyrol and the rest of Austria were significantly different before free testing was introduced.

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing was introduced to the Tyrol in 1988 and since 1993 it has been freely available to all men aged from 45 to 75 and to men under 40 with a family history of the disease explains lead author Professor Georg Bartsch from the University of Innsbruck, one of the international team of medical experts that makes up the Tyrol Prostate Cancer Screening Group.

Our findings suggest that the combination of free PSA testing and free treatment for any resulting prostate cancer can lead to significant reductions in death rates. This free treatment normally involved surgical removal of the prostate.

What was interesting about this study was that so many men came forward for testing after the programme was widely advertised in the print and broadcast media. People living in the Tyrol one of the nine Federal states that make up Austria tend to enjoy close proximity to health facilities and be very receptive to preventative medical programmes.

By 2005, just under 87 per cent of men aged between 45 and 75 living in the region had undergone a PSA test.

Our study clearly shows that deaths from prostate cancer have declined much more quickly in the Tyrol since 1988, when this programme was introduced, compared with the rest of Austria.


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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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