Medicare data suggests that up to 21% of Australian men aged 45–74 choose to have a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test each year, and about 19% of men aged over 74 also undergo testing.
While PSA testing helps to identify men with an increased risk of undiagnosed prostate cancer, and can help to diagnose prostate cancers earlier, it can also produce false positive results, and in some men picks up cancers that are so slow growing that they do not affect a man’s life expectancy, a finding known as over-diagnosis. False positives and over-diagnosis can cause harm, which means men and their doctors need to carefully consider the pros and cons of testing, based on each man’s age and other individual characteristics.
For men with no family history of prostate cancer and no symptoms, the current guidelines recommend that men who decide to undergo regular testing should be offered PSA testing every two years from age 50 to 69.
For men with a family history of prostate cancer who decide to undergo testing, the guidelines recommend men be offered PSA testing every two years from age 40/45 to 69, with the starting age depending on the strength of their family history.
What if a simple blood test could predict the effectiveness of a treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC)? A recent Australian study suggests this is a possibility. Using a blood test, researchers were able to detect circulating cell free DNA and RNA for altered androgen receptors in the blood of men with mCRPC. Men who had altered androgen receptor DNA or RNA in their blood had a poor response to treatment.
Alarming new research has revealed about 70 per cent of Australians don’t know the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, prompting Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to call for greater public investment in targeted community awareness activities.
The findings have been reported in the Not All Prostate Cancer is the Same report, released by the Prostate Cancer Patient Coalition – Asia Pacific (PCPC).
In a recent study, researchers have found that not all high-grade prostate cancers are the same. The research examined Gleason grade group 5 prostate cancers which are associated with aggressive disease and poor outcome and found that some cancers of this type were more aggressive then others based on differing patterns of gene expression. This is important work that may one day help clinicians decide how best to treat different subgroups of Gleason grade group 5 prostate cancers. The advantage of this is that men with less aggressive cancers may be spared the side effects of intensive treatment while those with more aggressive cancers receive intensive and more targeted treatment.