Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Somewhat conflicting studies on whether prostate-cancer screening is a valuable life-saving tool have left men with the standard advice: check with your doctor before deciding what's right for you.
A new study in the U.S., where screening is common, concludes the test for the slow-moving cancer saves very few lives and often leads to unneeded treatment. But a study in Europe, where screening is rare, finds it does produce a modest reduction: about seven fewer deaths for every 10,000 men screened.
Both studies were released today by the New England Journal of Medicine.
Massachusetts General's Dr. Michael Barry says, together, what the studies show is the benefit is fairly small and the risks, from some treatments are pretty big.
More than 186,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. And more than 28,000 men die from it.