Concerns over false positive results of prostate cancer test
Researchers have raised concerns over false positive results of prostate cancer screening.
They found that one in eight men screened for prostate cancer test positive when they do not have the disease and are compelled to undergo invasive tests such as biopsy as well as potentially unnecessary treatment.
The presence of prostate cancer may be indicated by symptoms, physical examination, prostate specific antigen (PSA), or biopsy.
Finnish researchers, who are a part of a large European trial, revealed that for every eight men screened, one ended up with a false positive result, even with a fairly high PSA threshold.
Those men who tested positive but were later found not to have cancer were twice as likely not to agree to screening in the future even though they were at risk of developing the disease later.
“I don’t think routine screening should be advised until more is known on the adverse effects and costs of screening,” BBC News quoted study leader, Dr Tuomas Kilpelainen, as saying.
“If a man has urinary tract symptoms and is concerned he could have prostate cancer, the most important thing is to consult a GP or a urologist,” Kilpelainen added.
“False positives are an issue for any screening programme,” said Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes.
“Although for some men detecting prostate cancer early through screening can be life-saving, on the other hand the test will be abnormal for around one man in eight without cancer being detectable at that time,” said Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician.
“For this reason, it is important that men in their 50s and 60s can to talk to their doctor about the pros and cons of having a PSA test and only have the test if they feel it is right for them,” he added.
The study appears in British Journal of Cancer. (ANI)