Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prostate Cancer Screening Effective

news you may not knowWhat About Screening?

Sure, this may get a bit uncomfortable. For the guys, at least. This is one of those times the gals can sit back and relax - unless, of course, there's a guy in her life she cares about. In that case, she should pay attention as well. As a matter of fact, she should pay close attention, because guys don't have the best track record when it comes to routine medical screenings.

Prostate cancer is a killer.

But, when detected early enough, it is highly treatable. Early...

A unique program in the Austrian state of Tyrol has set the medical community abuzz. Beginning in 1993, the state began to offer free PSA screening for prostate cancer. The PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in a man's blood. A high level indicates the possibility of prostate cancer, and a biopsy is then performed to confirm the diagnosis.

The results of the free screening are most impressive. The death rate from prostate cancer in Tyrol dropped by 54%, compared to just 29% in the rest of Austria. The scientist point to early detection as the key to the lower rate. Prior to the free screenings, only 11% of Tyrolean men were screened for prostate cancer; after the free screenings began this jumped to an impressive 87%.

Even with these impressive results, not everyone is on board. Some physicians believe PSA tests detect some cancers that grow so slowly they will never become life threatening. The American Cancer Society recommends annual PSA exams beginning at age 50; for African Americans, who are at greater risk, they recommend beginning at age 45.

So, should you or shouldn't you? Consider: American men have a one in six chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer; in 2008, it's estimated 186,000 American men will be diagnosed and 28,000 will die from prostate cancer; when diagnosed and treated in the early stages nearly 100% of men are cancer free after 5 years. 100%. It doesn't get much better.

Gals - now that you've read this, go tell your guys...

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about prostate cancer, including screening and prevention, see this from the Prostate Cancer Foundation.


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