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Panel issues new guidelines on prostate cancer diagnosis

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February 21, 2000
Web posted at: 8:58 p.m. EST (0158 GMT)

BALTIMORE (CNN) -- A medical panel led by urological experts has issued new recommendations to help physicians confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

The policy report issued by the American Urological Association (AUA) outlines when physicians should consider a biopsy after initial cancer screening tests are suspicious.

It said a biopsy should be considered for patients when:

• A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is at "4" or above.

• The PSA level of a patient significantly increases from one test to the next.

• A digital rectal exam is abnormal.

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a blood test -- developed in the mid-1980s -- used for early detection of prostate cancer.

  DOCTOR Q&A:
Read what doctors say about the symptoms of prostate cancer or ask your own questions.
 PROSTATE CANCER:
  • description
  • risk
  • symptoms
  • treatment
  • prevention
    Source: WebMD
  •  

    The report found the PSA test detects more prostate cancers than digital rectal exams, and it detects them earlier.

    But the panel said the two screening procedures should be done in conjunction with one another.

    There are an estimated 179,300 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society, and about 37,000 men die each year from the disease.

    According to the AUA, about 75 percent of prostate cancers currently detected are associated with an abnormal PSA. However, the group said PSA tests also can detect non-significant tumors.

    The group issued its "Best Practice Policy" after checking peer-reviewed medical data examining the role of the PSA test.

    The policy report is being published in the February issue of the journal Oncology. The report recommends that physicians discuss PSA testing with the patient.

    The AUA policy addresses the use of PSA to detect the recurrence of prostate cancer.

    It recommends that all men who have at least a 10-year life expectancy be offered routine PSA testing at age 50. Men at higher risk of developing prostate cancer, including blacks and those with a family history of the disease, should be offered testing at an earlier age.

    The AUA is an educational, nonprofit organization for urologists with more than 12,000 members worldwide.



    RELATED STORIES:
    High-volume hospitals called better for prostate care
    November 17, 1999
    Chat transcript: Correspondent Dan Rutz after prostate cancer conference
    July 13, 1999
    Torre's doctor: Early detection key to prostate cancer survival
    March 18, 1999

    RELATED SITES:
    AUA - The American Urological Association, Inc.
    Mayo Clinic's Prostate Page
    American Cancer Society
    National Cancer Institute Homepage


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