NEW YORK, Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The PSA test is back on top this week, thanks to newly published University of Rochester Medical Center research supporting its life-saving benefits to men of all ages. Without routine PSA screening the number of men diagnosed with an incurable form of advanced prostate cancer, also referred to as metastatic (M1) prostate cancer, would triple.
Many prostate cancer experts believe widespread availability and usage of the PSA test contributed to a prostate cancer death rate reduction by nearly half. Dr. David Samadi, a leading robotic prostatectomy surgeon from The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, points out the precision with which this data supports that claim.
"Today, roughly 8,000 men are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. To triple that number would, in fact, double the number of men who succumb to the disease each year," he explains. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 28,000 men die annually from prostate cancer.
To uncover more about the PSA's affect on prostate cancer, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center compared prostate cancer diagnoses data from two critical time periods in PSA history: prior to PSA testing (1983-1985) and the height of PSA testing (2006-2008).
Based on what is known of metastatic prostate cancer rates before the PSA, they created a mathematical formula to predict where we would be today without the PSA. The answer was not pretty. Researchers believe that a staggering 25,000 men would have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2008, if not for the PSA.
Dr. Samadi, a consistent supporter of routine PSA screening, commented on how these findings could impact the U.S. government task force's anti-PSA stance. "The clinical significance of this historical review of the PSA test is tremendous," he said. "Unfortunately, late stage diagnosis is extremely difficult to treat. Acknowledgement that the PSA test could be saving 17,000 lives each year isn't something you turn your back on."
Prostate cancer diagnosis facts:
- More than 240,00 men diagnosed each year
- Roughly 8,000 diagnosed with metastatic (M1) prostate cancer
- Nearly all M1 prostate cancer patients do not survive
- In total, more than 28,000 men die from prostate cancer every year
The PSA's curriculum vitae:
- Measures prostate-specific antigen (PSA) protein levels
- Widespread usage began in 1986
- Contributed to prostate cancer death rate reduction by half
Prostate cancer treatment completes the story
Of course, the other half of the story is treatment choice. The true benefit and, some say, weakness of early diagnosis is that it begs a decision about treatment. Critics fear that knowledge sparks undue action; that men diagnosed with prostate cancer feel compelled to treat a disease that may not cause them harm.
However, it stands to reason that the lives of these 17,000 men are spared each year because their prostate cancer is detected early enough for them to act. "It's the choices that come after a man's prostate cancer diagnosis that truly saves his life," clarifies Dr. Samadi. "Whether it's robotic prostatectomy surgery or an alternate prostate cancer treatment, the opportunity to eradicate this unpredictable disease is the beauty of the PSA test."