The prostate is a tiny gland found in the male groin that’s about the size of a ping-pong ball. It’s found between the base of the penis and the rectum, and its main function is to provide the body with seminal fluid. With the final goal of fertilizing an egg, seminal fluid provides sperm with the prime surroundings and consistency for its travel and survival.
The American Cancer Society says that about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during his lifetime. There are several risk factors that may increase your likelihood of developing the disease. These include your family history, race/ethnicity, age, geography, as well as genetic changes.
A study conducted by University College London that was published in late December offered an exciting new revelation: targeted cancer screening has the potential to prevent 1 in 6 deaths related to prostate cancer.
For the study, the team looked into the benefits and harms of using four-yearly PSA screening in men between the ages of 55 and 69 versus performing “more targeted checks” for men who are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. The team concluded that the best way to go about screening is to do so with men who are at a “slightly higher genetic risk,” because this would confer the most benefit (preventing deaths) and reduce needless treatments for tumors that are actually harmless.
To perform their analysis, the team put together a hypothetical group of 4.5 million men and simulated results of screening their created population. Potential results included unneeded diagnoses, screening costs, and the prevention of deaths from prostate cancer. They then compared these to a models with universal screening based on age, no screening at all, and targeted screening based on one’s genetic risk.
They found that the most ideal scenario is to screen men who have a 4-5% risk of developing prostate cancer over the next decade; this number represented something between one quarter and one half of all men between the ages of 55 and 69.
Ezra began as a prostate cancer screening company. You can learn more about how our approach compares to other methods (including the PSA test) here; and if you’re interested, you can learn more about our various scans and payment options here. Our goal is to help everyone in the world detect cancer early.