Prostate Cancer is not Predicted by a Change in the PSA Level

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A study reported in the February 24 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that blood tests indicating the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels are rising rapidly over time are not useful in detecting aggressive prostate cancer and may lead to unnecessary biopsies.

In the study the researchers used data from over 5,500 men in their 60’s and 70’s taking part in a drug trial for prostate cancer prevention.
Those selected for this study did not receive a drug in the initial study and all agreed to have a biopsy at the end of the trial. Although researchers did find a statistical association between PSA velocity (change in PSA levels over time) and the chances of a follow-up biopsy being positive for cancer, when they factored in other things that influence the risk such as family history of the disease, older age, being black, and PSA levels and digital rectal exam there was virtually no association between PSA velosity and biopsy outcome and concluded “PSA velosity measurement is not useful.” They also said ” This study should change practice. We have previously published papers determining that PSA naturally varies from month to month and have urged men whose PSA suddenly rises to wait six months and repeat the test before agreeing to a needle biopsy. This new study in a large population of men provides even stronger evidence that using changes in PSA as a basis for recommendation for biopsy leads to many more unnecessary biopsies and does not help to find the more aggressive cancers that we want to find and treat.”

For information-This issue was previously discussed by Tanya Harter Pierce on the Holistic Health Show and more information on the PSA can be found in her book Outsmart Your Cancer: Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work. 2009 edition.

More information at:
http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/650257.html

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