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Prostate screening test breakthrough

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Men who are most at risk of dying from prostate cancer could be pinpointed at the age of 60 by a single blood test, according to new research.

Approximately 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK every year, making it the most common cancer among men, the Office for National Statistics said.

While screening is used in some countries, medical experts are yet to decide on whether the benefits of screening are outweighed by the potential costs and harms of over-diagnosis and over-treatment of those men who are healthy.

Cells in the prostate gland growing in a certain way can cause prostate cancer to develop.

The new test could identify men who should be monitored closely and those who do not require further checks, according to the findings published in the British Medical Journal.

Professor Philipp Dahm and colleagues at the University of Florida reviewed six previous screening trials involving 387,286 participants.

They found routine screening aided the diagnosis of prostate cancer at an earlier stage, but did not have a significant impact on death rates and raised the risk of over-treatment.

A second study by headed by Professor Hans Lilja, showed a single “prostate-specific antigen” (PSA) level test at age 60 strongly predicted a man’s risk of diagnosis and death from prostate cancer.

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