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Prostate test is distressing for men

8th April 2010

Researchers from the University of Bristol have said men should be told that they may find the tests for prostate cancer needlessly "distressing".

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Tests for the disease can be requested by male patients over the age of 45 in the UK, although they are not offered as standard.

If a male patient shows high amounts of prostate specific antigen (PSA) then a biopsy is usually carried out to check for cancerous growths.

The study, carried out for the British Journal of Cancer, discovered that 20% of men found this process upsetting, even if they were given a negative result.

The researchers studied 330 men during the tests. "We found that in some men, the psychological effects lasted even after the men were told their biopsy was benign", said Professor Kavita Vedhara, who headed the study.

"It's essential that doctors know about this, and that men are fully informed of the psychological challenges they may face during and after a PSA test."

In the men who showed increased levels of PSA, 70% were given a negative result after having a biopsy. Raised amounts of PSA can also be caused by an enlarged prostate, infections or being active.

 

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