There is wide coverage of new research that argues that routine screening could reduce deaths from prostate cancer, with BBC News, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail all reporting the story. This controversial study is likely to reignite the debate about whether routine screening for prostate cancer does more harm than good.
The large long-term study involved prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests on a group of men aged between 30 and 55. PSA tests can be used to help doctors diagnose prostate cancer, which raises the level of PSA in the blood. The men were followed-up over a period of 20 to 25 years to see if they developed or died from advanced prostate cancer.
The study aimed to see if researchers could identify a PSA cut-off level for different age groups. If men had PSA levels above the cut-off, this would indicate a ‘red flag’ for developing advanced prostate cancer, and would warrant long-term follow-up and re-testing.