"Early screening with the prostate specific antigen (PSA) is quite controversial. There are many arguments both for and against the efficacy of this form of early screening," says Vivek Goel, professor of public health sciences and health policy management and evaluation at U of T and one of the senior authors of the study. "Our study shows a fairly significant benefit, and this benefit is demonstrated even among men who were not screened regularly as part of a screening program. There may be greater benefit from an organized screening program."
Published in the August issue of the Journal of Urology, Goel and Jacek Kopec, a professor at the University of British Columbia, did much of this work while both were part of U of T's public health sciences department. The researchers conducted a population-based case control study in the Greater Toronto Area of 236 men with advanced metastatic prostate cancer and a control group of 462 men who did not have metastatic prostate cancer. From 1999 to 2002, they matched subjects on age and area of residence and obtained self-reported information about their lifestyles, health history and utilization of health services. The researchers also received permission to review medical records and history of screening.
They found that PSA screening of asymptomatic men reduced their risk of metastatic prostate cancer by 35 per cent.
In North America, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of death by cancer in men, often as a result of the cancer spreading or metastasizing to other parts of the body. PSA tests are simple blood tests that detect an antigen in blood. While small amounts of this antigen are normal, higher levels could indicate problems like
Contact: Elaine Smith
University of Toronto