Healthy to the PSA test
Great benefit for men with good health. Despite many proponents, the benefits of the PSA test for the early detection of prostate cancer are still controversial. The reason for this is that on average 48 men have to be treated with a conspicuous PSA finding in order to prevent death. Most men die of other diseases before they fall victim to cancer. Conversely, this would mean that men with a stable state of health would benefit much more from the test for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA),"explains Dr. Pedram Derakhshani, urologist at the West German Prostate Center in Cologne. The fact that this is indeed the case has now been demonstrated for the first time by an American study recently published in the renowned Journal of Oncology.
To this end, American scientists scrutinized the data of more than 76,000 men examined in the PLOC (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Overian) study over a period of six years. Some of the men (provision group) were subjected to an annual PSA test. In case of conspicuous results, a biopsy was performed (removal of tissue). In contrast, the control group received only normal medical care. In both groups, the health status was previously documented by means of a questionnaire.
The results are clear: For men who had no or only minor concomitant diseases, the risk of dying from prostate cancer was significantly lower in the precautionary group in the six years than in the control group. In contrast, there was no significant difference between the two groups in men with at least one pronounced concomitant disease. The study impressively shows us how important it is for men with good health to have the PSA value determined annually,"comments Derakhshani. "It is often overlooked that the early detection and treatment of prostate cancer can actually save lives." Although it cannot be ruled out that PSA screening will detect tumours that would never have caused problems for life, the benefits of the test outweigh the benefits.
Therapy with minimal side effects
According to the Cologne urologist, instead of not taking advantage of the annual preventive medical check-up, the focus in the treatment of prostate cancer should be on achieving optimal healing rates with minimal side effects. Modern radiation therapy methods such as brachytherapy are particularly suitable for this purpose. In contrast to the radical removal of the prostate, the prostate gland remains intact during "internal radiation". The ultrasound-guided introduction of radioactive pencils (seeds) directly into the prostate gland destroys the tumour and at the same time protects the surrounding tissue. In some cases, it is even sufficient to keep an eye on the cancer and monitor it closely (active monitoring).
Not everyone who has been diagnosed with prostate carcinoma suffers from other age-related diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis or dementia."That even most patients beyond the age of seventy are fit and active and have a high quality of life is often not included in the considerations for the benefit of the PSA value," summarizes Dr. Derakhshani. A neglect, which in individual cases prevents a possible cure of cancer.
- Crawford ED, Grubb R 3rd, Black A, Andriole GL Jr, Chen MH, Izmirlian G, Berg CD, D' Amico AV. : Comorbidity and mortality results from a randomized prostate cancer screening trial. J Clin Oncol. 2011 Feb 1;29 (4): 355-61 Epub 2010 Nov 1.