Health

Prostate Cancer Screening Could Cut Deaths by 20%, Study Argues

Andy Dang, a lab assistant at Genomic Health, labels cancer tissue sample transfer tubes for an RNA extraction process. The company's new genetic test to gauge the aggressiveness of prostate cancer may help men decide whether they need to treat their cancer right away or can safely monitor it. (Genomic Health/AP)
Andy Dang, a lab assistant at Genomic Health, labels cancer tissue sample transfer tubes for an RNA extraction process. The company’s new genetic test to gauge the aggressiveness of prostate cancer may help men decide whether they need to treat their cancer right away or can safely monitor it.
(Genomic Health/AP)

 

(Irish Times) – Screening for prostate cancer could reduce deaths from the disease by about a fifth, according to a major European study published today in The Lancet.

However, routine screening programmes for the disease should not be introduced at this time because of doubts as to whether the benefits of testing outweigh the harm done, the authors of the study conclude.

PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing delivers a substantial reduction in prostate cancer deaths, similar to that reported in screening for breast cancer. However, over-diagnosis occurs in about 40 per cent of cases, resulting in a high risk of over-treatment. Severe side-effects can include incontinence and impotence.

The Irish National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) said it agreed with the recommendation of the study against population-based screening.

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