Statement on PSA Testing for Prostate Cancer
Urologists Welcome Pathologists Position Statement on PSA Testing for Prostate Cancer
The Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand welcomes a position statement by pathologists, which backs its own recommendation that men seeking to assess their risk of prostate cancer should be tested from age of 40 years.
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia today released its position statement on the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test and its use in testing for the diagnosis of prostate cancer.
The statement says the "blood levels of PSA are currently the best readily available biomarker for detecting prostate cancer," and that the test should be offered in conjunction with a DRE (digital rectal examination) from the age of 40 as a baseline measure of future risk of prostate cancer.
"PSA measurements performed in men under the age of 50 years are predictive of future risk, rather than being a measure to detect the very small number of incident cases within this age group."
"While we acknowledge it is an imperfect test, we know that PSA testing saves lives," says Dr Ruthven.
"The latest studies support the case for testing from the age of 40. While the risk of cancer for men in their forties is low, a test at this age selects those men who may be at risk and who need more frequent follow-up to find cancers at a curable stage," says Dr Ruthven.
The RCPA recommends those men with PSA levels above the age-related median should be tested annually, while those with PSA levels below the median should be tested less frequently.
"The interval times between reassessment for those men who test below the median has not been firmly established, and a number of factors should be taken into account with each individual patient including family history," says Dr Rutven.
"Most men who are tested will be reassured they do not have prostate cancer, but those who are diagnosed need to be reassured that the detection of prostate cancer does not necessarily mean surgery or radiotherapy, and many cancers can be monitored safely under an "Active Surveillance" protocol for many years without treatment," says Dr Ruthven.