New guidelines for prostate cancer testing

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Melbourne: Prostate cancer testing in Australia are set to improve after cancer agencies and health experts reached an agreement on new testing guidelines at the World Cancer Congress (WCC) currently being held in Melbourne.

The commonly-used Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test can be unreliable because the asymptomatic nature of prostate cancer occasionally leads to false positive readings.

Patient groups frequently advocated broad-base screening, but health professionals have been concerned that it led to unnecessary invasive procedures.

Cancer agencies and health professionals have come together to write new guidelines that indicate who should get tested and when.

The new guidelines, developed by an expert advisory panel and released Thursday, attempt to limit the harm associated with PSA testing while maximizing the benefits, Xinhua reported.

In 2012, the US Preventative Services Task Force, which advises American doctors, recommended against PSA testing, citing the testing may result in “over-treatment” and “over-diagnosis”.

The new guidelines include provisions to offer evidence-based support when discussing the harms and benefits of undergoing testing, a series of biopsies from around the prostate in addition to those of the prostate itself, and not offering PSA screening to men unlikely to live seven more years.

Following a public consultation process, the guidelines will be submitted to Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council.

The 2014 WCC is focusing on prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. Wednesday, experts said cancer treatment had advanced to the point it was “no longer a death sentence”.

Source : Zee Health News

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