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Prostate cancer tests underestimate severity

11th April 2014

A study, carried out the by the University of Cambridge, looked at men with prostate cancer. The 847 men had their cancer graded before and after surgery between 2007 and 2011. 



Prostate

415 were told that their cancer was slow-growing; however, of these 415, 209 found they actually had a more aggressive form of the disease and 130 found their cancer had spread around the body.


Scientists are calling for an improved test to more accurately define the nature of the cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the UK. There are over 41,000 new cases diagnosed and 10,800 deaths each year. The prostate gland is located between the gladder and the penis, just in front of the rectum.



The author of the study, Greg Shaw, is a urological surgeon at the University of Cambridge. He said there was a 'surprising' number of men who were not diagnosed with appropriate care the first time around.


Currently, men with low-grade or early stage cancers are offered the choice of operation or active surveillance - where doctors perform regular blood tests and examinations. The recorded surveillance techniques lead to 30% needing radical treatment (such as chemotherapy) within five years.



Prof David Dearnaley, at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: "I think this is a very good and thoughtful study and I think it does inform what we should be doing in the NHS."

But he said the study had limitations as the definitions of "significant" cancer were uncertain.

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Comments

Ed Dwulet

Sunday 13th April 2014 @ 3:24

The last sentence of this article makes it the best of all the ridiculously reported scare "headline" stories on this single study. Prostate needle biopsies by their very nature are very inexact and probably involve looking at less than 1% of the gland. It could never ever compare favorably with a detailed post surgical examination of a whole prostate. Anyone could have predicted the results of this "study" without even doing a study. Not mentioned at all are the rate of documented cases of the exact opposite finding - men who are told they have prostate cancer, rush to surgery and post surgical pathology finds nothing! In any event kudos to Healthcare Today for including the comment that there is no well defined criteria for diagnosing significant progressive prostate cancer.


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