According to a study presented at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) annual meeting, instances and mortality rates of prostate cancer are lowering or stabilizing in most parts of the world. What’s more is that the United States is responsible for the largest dip in incidence of the disease. However, despite this encouraging news, prostate cancer is still the second most often-diagnosed cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer-related death in men the world over, according to MaryBeth Freeman, the study’s lead author. In 2012, prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in 96 countries and the primary cause of death in 51.
The study also addressed the impact of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening. While it attributed the decline in prostate cancer incidence rates from the mid-2000s through 2015 largely to an increase in PSA-level testing, Freeman explained that there is a major problem in accessibility: these tests are not as readily-available in lower-income nations, which contributes to people not in the U.S. being diagnosed at later stages and therefore other countries having higher mortality rates from the disease. Furthermore, Freeman highlighted that some nations also intend to dial down on recommended PSA screening, as it can often lead to over-diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer that otherwise would have never become symptomatic.
“Overall, patients should have an informed discussion with their providers about the benefits are harms of PSA testing for detection of prostate cancer,” Freeman said. “Future studies should monitor trends in mortality rates and late-stage disease to assess the impact of reduction in PSA testing in several countries.”
An alternative to screening for prostate cancer that doesn’t involve PSA testing can be found with us here at Ezra! You can read about how our screening technique compares with the current standard of care here.