Cancer News
OncoLink Cancer News - HealthDay

Prostate-Specific Antigen Test May Increase Overdiagnosis

-- Jane Parry

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TUESDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Since the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test was introduced, many men have been overdiagnosed with prostate cancer, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

H. Gilbert Welch, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and Peter C. Albertsen, M.D., of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, analyzed data on age-specific incidence and initial course of treatment for prostate cancer from 1986, the year before the PSA test was introduced, to 2005.

The researchers estimate that 1,305,600 additional men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer since 1986, of whom 1,004,800 underwent treatment for the disease. For every man who was presumed to benefit from PSA screening, more than 20 had to be diagnosed, the investigators note.

"Estimating the trade-off between a mortality benefit and an overdiagnosis is problematic when there is uncertainty about whether the benefit exists at all," the authors write. "Although no single formula can determine the correct course of action when facing this trade-off, it is important that we begin to explicitly communicate to men who are considering screening the relative magnitude of number of deaths averted to the number overdiagnosed and make clear the harms of overdiagnosis."

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

Copyright © 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

I Wish You Knew

Importance of funding cancer research

View More

Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.

OncoLink OncoPilot

Facing a new cancer diagnosis or changing the course of your current treatment? Let our cancer nurses help you through!

Learn More