18 Aug The #PSA #bloodtest a patients view
The PSA test has been with us for nearly 30 years and we still use it as the basic tool to indicate problems of the prostate and we will continue to use it to assist when newer markers/diagnostics come along. Waiting for a new test must not be used as an excuse for not using the PSA test.
I believe the real oposition to the PSA test in the UK lay around short term finance and resources.
What price do we put on the lives of the 11,000 men a year who die of prostate cancer????
In 30 years we have progressed in the way we use the information from the test BUT unfortunately for those who choose to ignore the benefits of the test there is the argument of over treatment.
We ALL (Consultants, Doctors, Nurses, carers and patients) know about over treatment.
BUT over treatment occurs when treatment (surgery/radiotherapy) are used when careful monitoring would be better.
For example a PSA score of 10 may not be as important as a PSA that rises from 0.5 to 2.5 very rapidly. The rapid rise may help distinquish a non-cancer problem in the prostate gland from cancer (Dr Gerald Andriole, director of the Prostate Study Centre at Barnes-Jewish Hospital).
So it is the rate of increase in the test results that should be used to determine whether/when a patient should be treated or sent for a biopsy.
The biopsy is the only way to confirm cancer of the prostate, anesthetics and smaller needles have improved the patient experience and the results are now quite accurate. With three dimensional images used as an aid for the pathologist to map tumours.
The National Cancer Institute statistics reveal that in 2008 deaths from prostate cancer have dropped by 37% in America. FACT.