Simplifying the Decision for a Prostate Screening

One of the most difficult decisions a man makes about prostate cancer happens long before the diagnosis. Should he get a regular blood test to screen for the disease?

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Lund University in Sweden have found that a man’s P.S.A. (prostate-specific antigen) score at the age of 60 can strongly predict his lifetime risk of dying of prostate cancer, according to a new report in the British medical journal BMJ.The findings also suggest that at least half of men who are now screened after age 60 don’t need to be, the study authors said.The researchers followed 1,167 Swedish men from the time they were 60 years old until they died or reached 85. During that time, there were 43 cases of advanced prostate cancer and 35 deaths in the group. The researchers found that having had a P.S.A. score of 2.0 or higher at the age of 60 was highly predictive of developing advanced prostate cancer, or dying of the disease, within the next 25 years.About one in four men will have a P.S.A. score of 2.0 or higher at the age of 60, and most of them will not develop prostate cancer, said the study’s lead author, Andrew Vickers, associate attending research methodologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. But the score does put them in a higher-risk group of men who have more to gain from regular screening, he concluded.The higher the score at age 60, the greater the long-term risk of dying from prostate cancer, Dr. Vickers and his colleagues found. Men with a score of 2.0 or higher at age 60 were 26 times more likely to eventually die of the disease than 60-year-old men with scores below 1.0.

Read the whole article here Simplifying the Decision for a Prostate Screening – NYTimes.com.

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