Annual prostate cancer
screening test appears to save lives
Newswise — Men who have a
yearly blood test to examine their prostate specific antigen
levels are nearly three times less likely to die from prostate
cancer than those who don’t have annual screenings, according to
a study presented October 19, 2005, at the American Society for
Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 47th Annual Meeting in
The study shows that over an
estimated 10-year period, men who have an annual prostate
specific antigen (PSA) test will have a 3.6 percent chance of
dying from the disease, compared to 11.3 percent in the general
Patients who have the test are more likely to be
diagnosed with prostate cancer that is curable in the vast
majority of cases, as opposed to aggressive cancers that are
less likely to be curable.
“The PSA blood test is the
best simple screening test available for prostate cancer that
picks up prostate cancer earlier, while it’s still curable,”
said Jason Efstathiou, M.D., lead author of the study and a
resident at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston.
A PSA test is a blood test
that measures the level of prostate specific antigen, a protein
produced by the prostate. Increased levels of PSA may be a sign
of prostate cancer.
The study took place between
1988 and 2002 and involved 1,492 men who were treated for
prostate cancer by the surgical removal of their prostate and
whose cancer came back.
Among this group, 841 men had yearly PSA
tests before their cancer diagnosis, while 611 men were
diagnosed by other methods.
There are large, randomized trials
currently going in both the U.S. and Europe that will further
confirm the impact of PSA screening tests among prostate cancer
patients by 2008.
ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world,
with more than 8,000 members who specialize in treating patients
with radiation therapies.
As a leading organization in radiation
oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to the
advancement of the practice of radiation oncology by promoting
excellence in patient care, providing opportunities for
educational and professional development, promoting research and
disseminating research results and representing radiation
oncology in a rapidly evolving socioeconomic healthcare