"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

PSA testing for prostate cancer is just worthwhile for some people.

Fresh A UK study No significant difference in survival was shown between men who had the identical prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – a blood test used to detect prostate cancer – and those that didn’t, about ten After a 12 months of follow-up. This was despite the test being accountable for over-diagnosis of prostate cancer.

It was the biggest randomized trial thus far on this query, involving 400,000 men aged 50-69 without prostate symptoms. The results were consistent. Previously published trials of PSA screeningwhich, with one exception, also showed no improvement in survival.

Prostate-specific antigen is a protein produced by the prostate gland and secreted in semen. It will be measured within the blood as an indicator of diseases affecting the prostate gland. Since the Nineteen Eighties, PSA tests have been used to diagnose and follow up prostate cancer. However, its use as a screening test for prostate cancer is controversial.

What is the conflict?

PSA testing can result in the diagnosis of some cancers which will never cause problems and thus go undiagnosed based on symptoms. This is known as “over-diagnosis”.

This trend is a priority with any screening program, e.g Mammogram for breast cancer. Overdiagnosis must be weighed against the advantages of screening to find more serious cancers at an earlier and more treatable stage.

This reality is further complicated by prostate cancer. It usually occurs in elderly men. And sometimes it could actually be years from the time prostate cancer is diagnosed until it spreads beyond the prostate or becomes life-threatening. This is why it is usually said that “men die of prostate cancer rather than prostate cancer”.

Men are unlikely to profit from treatment for indolent prostate cancer and is known as “overtreatment.”

Some consider these aspects to be enough that the PSA test for prostate cancer needs to be abandoned altogether. But the fact is that an estimated 3,500 men Will die of prostate cancer This 12 months many individuals in Australia will suffer from symptoms, comparable to pain from incurable prostate cancer, and undergo treatments comparable to chemotherapy with serious unintended effects.

PSA testing is the perfect method for early detection and treatment of aggressive prostate cancer. But more will be done to resolve the dilemma.

The use of the PSA test for prostate cancer is controversial.
From shutterstock.com

Improvements within the PSA test

Researchers are in search of tests that may detect prostate cancer higher than PSA testing. A handful Several markers were tested. have entered clinical (human) use, but none have been shown to outperform PSA as a screening test.

In the current practice, Purification of PSAIncluding measurable PSA subtypes, rates of PSA change over time, and different PSA-based scores will be used to more accurately predict a person's prostate cancer risk.

To further improve the advantages of PSA testing, it must be targeted at the suitable age group, i.e. men aged 50 to 69 years. Older men (or those with reduced life expectancy on account of medical illness) are unlikely to profit from prostate cancer treatment and mustn’t undergo PSA testing.

On the opposite hand, men of their 40s (or younger) generally have a really low risk of developing prostate cancer. They should only undergo PSA testing in the event that they have a family history (which increases the danger). These recommendations form the core. Clinical practice guidelines Developed in 2016 by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).

It remains to be uncertain how often the PSA test needs to be repeated to be only. According to a distinguished European trial which demonstrated the best reduction in prostate cancer mortality, the PCFA guidelines recommend a PSA test every two years.

If you’ve an abnormal PSA test.

Additional steps will be taken after a PSA test to cut back the potential harms of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. First, it's essential to get a high reading confirmed and check for a cause aside from cancer, comparable to a urinary tract infection, obstruction or trauma (even from an extended bicycle ride).

If an abnormal PSA reading is confirmed, a prostate biopsy is performed as the ultimate diagnostic test for prostate cancer. The infectious risks of prostate biopsy will be reduced with alternative techniques. Transperineal approach where the biopsy needle is passed through the skin as an alternative of through the rectum as usual. Many Australian centers now use transperineal biopsy.

Work by Australian researchers has also shown this. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans might help further improve the accuracy of the biopsy. The use of MRI as an adjunct to prostate biopsy increases the detection of aggressive prostate cancer and reduces the detection of indolent prostate cancer.

Current use of prostate MRI in Australia has some access limitations, which is able to hopefully diminish over time. Because MRI results are highly depending on the strength of the scanning magnet, the strategy of the scan and the skill of the interpreting radiologist, they are usually not yet widely available. There are also significant costs, as Medicare waivers for prostate MRIs still remain. under review.

After diagnosis

If a person is diagnosed with prostate cancer, it can be crucial that treatment decisions are made individually. Most importantly, low-risk prostate cancer needs to be screened quickly. Active monitoringthereby delaying, or perhaps completely avoiding, treatment and associated unintended effects.

In contrast, high-risk prostate cancer requires early and aggressive treatment to attain the perfect possible final result. The methods currently available to learn how prostate cancer may behave are based on information from PSA tests, physical examinations, scans and biopsies. Emerging technologies viz Genomic tests This might help further improve the accuracy of the prediction process.

Advances in clinical practice have helped reduce among the harms of PSA testing while preserving the potential advantages. However, ongoing work is required to further improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer. There are risks and advantages that men need to think about within the technique of making them. Informed decision In consultation together with your GP.