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New plan to cut prostate screening harm

Monday March 10th, 2014

Britain could successfully screen for prostate cancer by using new risk-based systems, an expert has said.

The move would reduce the number of men needing examination and treatment after PSA testing.

According to Professor Ken Muir, of Manchester University, there is significant support from men and from GPs for the move.

PSA testing has become increasing controversial amid concerns it leads to over-treatment, putting men at risk of debilitating side-effects.

Professor Muir reported a survey of more than 1,000 men and more than 100 GPs to a conference in Manchester last week.

This found about 80% backing for a move to risk-based screening.

Under the approach, men would only be referred for additional investigation if their risk of prostate cancer - after PSA testing - was greater than that of the normal male population.

Professor Muir said the system would also detect high-risk cancers sooner.

He believes the system could replace the physical examinations that doctors currently have to conduct.

He is now hoping to set up a trial of the new approach.

He said: “There is a growing acceptance of using a combination of markers of risk to reduce the over-referral of patients for invasive further assessment and that this assessment should be made in primary care.”

David Smith, of Tackle Prostate Cancer, said: “Tackle, whose members have invested significant sums in the trial, are confident that the trial team under Professor Muir will produce a risk calculator that is non-inferior.

"The detection of cancers of definite clinical significance will be increased while significantly reducing the number of men needing to undergo biopsy.”

Tags: Cancer | Menís Health | UK News

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