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PSA testing saves lives

By Katherine Garcia | 24 de agosto de 2012

Don’t stop going to the doctor for your annual prostate exam just yet. A new study from a researcher at the University of Texas Health and Science Center revealed the number of cancer-related deaths has declined since PSA Testing has come into regular use in 1990.

San Antonio.- Don’t stop going to the doctor for your annual prostate exam just yet. A new study from a researcher at the University of Texas Health and Science Center revealed the number of cancer-related deaths has declined since PSA Testing has come into regular use in 1990.

Dr. Ian M. Thompson Jr., director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at the UT Health and Science Center, collaborated with Catherine M. Tangen, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle to examine  data from three large studies that started in the mid-1980s.

The peer-reviewed study revealed prostate cancer deaths declined thanks to regular testing.

The PSA test has been criticized for being overused in testing prostate cancer without taking outside factors into account. Members of the U.S. Preventative Task Force analyzed data from three different studies and found PSA screening and treatment yielded minimal benefits that might not justify the high cost of testing.

In May, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (created by the Affordable Care Act) advised doctors to stop running routine tests on men.

Thompson and Tangen looked at data from three clinical trials done by the South West Oncology Group (SWOG), a multi-institutional group.

Patient survival increased for those exposed to androgen deprivation treatment  in the third trial from 1995 to 2009 relative to the second trial from 1989 to 1994.

Thompson was also wary of  overreliance on the PSA test because falso positives lead to unnecessary treatment in healthy men. However, he argues the test can still be a helpful diagnostic tool.

“What this really means is that PSA testing has an entire range of effects,” Thompson said.

Thompson developed a Prostate Risk Calculator for doctors and patients which takes into account PSA count and patient history.

To calculate your risk, visit deb.uthscsa.edu/URORiskCalc/Pages/uroriskcalc.jsp.

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Health / Salud