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Some older men may not benefit from prostate specific antigen testing.

Byline: ANI

Washington, February 21 (ANI): Routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing is unlikely to be beneficial for some men aged 75 to 80, according to a Johns Hopkins study.

Published in the Journal of Urology, the study has shown that men in this age group with PSA levels less than 3 nanograms per milliliter are unlikely to die of, or experience aggressive prostate cancer during their remaining life, suggesting that the use of PSA testing in many older men may no longer be needed.

The researchers behind the study have revealed that they reviewed data from 849 men-122 with and 727 without prostate cancer-who were participating in the National Institute on Aging's Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), and who had undergone regular PSA testing.

They said that among men over 75, who had PSA levels less than 3 nanograms per milliliter, none died of prostate cancer and only one developed high-risk prostate cancer.

On the other hand, men of all ages, who had a PSA level of 3 nanograms per milliliter or greater, had a continually rising probability of dying from prostate cancer.

Lead researcher Edward Schaeffer, an assistant professor of urology at Johns Hopkins, says that if confirmed by future studies, these results may help determine more specific guidelines for when PSA -based screening might be safely discontinued.

While PSA screening remains a useful tool for helping detect early stages of prostate cancer and is credited with decreasing prostate cancer mortality, discontinuing unneeded PSA testing could significantly reduce the costs of screening and also potentially reduce morbidity resulting from additional tests or treatments.

"We need to identify where we should best focus our health care dollars by concentrating on patients who can actually benefit from PSA testing. These findings give a very strong suggestion of when we can start to counsel patients on when to stop testing," Schaeffer says. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Feb 21, 2009
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