Cancer researchers have completed a study which shows no early mortality benefit from annual prostate cancer screening.
Results of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial show that six years of annual screening for prostate cancer led to more diagnoses of prostate tumors but not to fewer deaths. Doctor Gerald Andriole, Chief Urologic Surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, was the study’s lead author and principal investigator.
Doctor Andriole says that while younger men might benefit from a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, those with limited life expectancy might not. He adds many older men might die with prostate cancer … not of prostate cancer … and aggressive treatment might not be needed.
The trial involved 76,693 men, who were randomly assigned to receive either annual PSA blood tests for six years and digital rectal exams for four years or routine care, which included physical checkups but no mandate for annual prostate cancer screening.
Deaths from prostate cancer did not differ significantly between the groups. Seven years after the start of the screening, there were 50 deaths from prostate cancer in the screening group and 44 deaths in the routine-care group.