April 26, 2007

Better prostate cancer test

A far more accurate blood test for prostate cancer has been created The American Cancer Society projects that in 2007 there will be 219,000 new cases and 27,000 deaths. Yet detecting the disease early has always been problematic.

The new tests accuracy: about 3 percent of the time, when the test was positive, there was no prostate cancer there. In 6 percent of cases, there were false negatives [meaning the test came out negative but the patient did have cancer].

This compares to the PSA test where 80 percent of the positives turn out negative.
An estimated 1.3 million to 1.6 million men undergo biopsies every year to identify the 230,000 or so patients with cancer.

Widespread adoption of this test could help identify prostate cancer in the early stage when it is relatively easy to successfully treat. Perhaps over 94% of the cases could be identified early.

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