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New research finds prostate screening test saves lives, but experts still don't recommend it

New research finds prostate screening test saves lives, but experts still don't recommend it
From Global News - September 4, 2017

A new study is adding to the debate around a controversial prostate cancer screening tool after finding the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can significantly reduce cancer death.

Weproject about a 25 to 30 per cent reduction in the risk of prostate cancer deaths when PSA screening is used, said Ruth Etzioni, a public health researcher with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, in Seattle, Wash.

Etzioni was part of a team from the University of Michigan and the National Cancer Institute that used a new mathematical model to re-analyze data from two major clinical trials: the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) and the U.S.-based Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO), which offered conflicting results.

READ MORE: Should you get a prostate cancer screening test? New guidelines are against it

It was clear from the European trial that there appeared to be some benefit, but it was much less clear from the U.S. trial.

After re-analyzing the data from both trials, Etzioni says the U.S. and European results were similar; both studies showed benefits.

Still, critics of the test maintain the PSA causes more harm than good, because it led to over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

The benefit of this screening is really very small, said Dr. James Dickinson, a public health researcher with the University of Calgary.

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