Warning on UK prostate cancer screening

Any UK screening programme for prostate cancer will need to account for changes in risks and benefits in different age groups, scientists at Cancer Research UK believe. By Laura James

Photograph: JH Lancy
Photograph: JH Lancy

Dr Nora Pashyan and colleagues gave over 40,000 men PSA testing as part of a study to identify advanced stage prostate cancers. PSA testing led to an overdiagnosis of about one in 10 of those in the 50-59 age group but this increased to three in 10 in the 60-69 age group.

Dr Pashyan, said: ‘Any screening strategy should take into account of the potential benefits and harms of screening. A valuable target for future research would be to estimate the benefit of screening at different ages.’

Despite the overdiagnosis, the researchers say two yearly PSA testing could reduce advanced stage prostate cancer by up to 54%.

The DoH is currently reviewing the case for PSA screening for prostate cancer. A recent European trial suggested it could cut mortality by 20% whereas a US trial gave results that showed testing made no difference.


  • Should PSA screening for prostate cancer be introduced?

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