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PSA diagnosis cuts prostate cancer mortality

A prostate cancer study has shown new diagnosis techniques focusing on analysis of the glycoprotein PSA can reduce the disease's mortality rate

The results of a prostate cancer prevention study show that new diagnosis techniques can reduce the disease's mortality rate by 31 per cent. The disease is one of the most fatal cancers among the world's male population.

New diagnostic techniques focus on the analysis of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a glycoprotein specifically produced by the prostate, which can be analysed in a simple blood test, thus determining whether the organ is affected by the disease. Invasive diagnostic methods are not as necessary thanks to this technique, and the condition can be detected in very early stages.

The findings were presented at the 25th European Association of Urology Congress in Barcelona last week. A round table of urologists and journalists discussed the study's basic characteristics and verified its application in the healthcare policies of different EU countries. The research was conducted under the leadership of Professor Fritz Schröder, one of Europe's most renowned urologists.

Although the prevalence of prostate cancer has increased with life expectancy, mortality has fallen over the last few years; further validating the study.

One of the study's most important consequences is the application of prevention policies on a European scale. According to Professor Louis Denis and European Parliament member, Alojz Pterle: "the prevention of prostate cancer is one of the main concerns and objectives of the European Parliament, which believes that collaboration between the medical community, policy-makers and patients is essential."

Experts such as Per-Anders Abrahamsson, secretary general of the European Association of Urology, believe, however, that "mass diagnosis is not yet required in the European Union", as most prostate cancers present a very low risk for the patient's health.

The new techniques (such as PSA analysis) also show that many of the patients affected by the condition are being incorrectly treated with exceedingly aggressive treatments for the mildest cases.

In this respect, the experts presently believe that one of the advantages of screening is precisely that it determines the risks and ideal treatments for different stages of the disease. One interesting finding from this study is that an increased concern for prostate cancer is related to the pressure brought to bear on patients by their spouses. Spousal support is fundamental for increasing awareness about this type of cancer among men.

26th April 2010

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