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Study finds screening linked to reduced risk for prostate cancer death

Cancer Weekly


By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Cancer Weekly -- A new analysis of two clinical trials in Europe and the United States provides evidence that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening reduces prostate cancer mortality. The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that screening lowered the risk for prostate cancer death by 25 to 32 percent in men when compared with those who were not screened (see also Prostate Conditions Education Council).

The Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC) strongly supports this analysis, which is timely in light of expected updates to prostate cancer screening recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). September is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which the PCEC recognizes with educational programs and free prostate testing across the U.S. and in Japan. The organization has tested more than five million men for prostate cancer during the past 30 years.

"The past few years posed an opportunity for the PCEC to forge ahead and refine efforts to make sure patients understand that PSA screening isn't a cancer diagnosis - it helps them and their providers make informed decisions," said Wendy Poage, president of the PCEC. "Screening helps save lives, and this analysis only bolsters the work we do to provide information and support for men and their loved ones."

The new analysis, funded by the National Cancer Institute, assessed the differences between the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). In past reviews, interpretation was complicated by differences in practice settings and trial implementation.

"When we accounted for the actual amount of screening received, the two trials have remarkably similar results," said E. David Crawford, M.D., a co-author of the study and founder and chairman of the PCEC. "Instead of comparing the screened and non-screened populations, we looked at the intensity of screening in each relative to no screening. The estimated common effect of screening suggests it can significantly reduce the risk for prostate cancer death."

As the USPSTF works to update its recommendations, the PCEC urges the inclusion of this new evidence in materials considered during the task force's review. Prostate cancer remains the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the U.S. and is most successfully treated when detected in its early stages.

Keywords for this news article include: Oncology, Prostatic Neoplasms, Risk and Prevention, Diagnostics and Screening, Metastatic Prostate Cancer, Prostate Conditions Education Council.

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