Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Way to Predict Prostate Cancer Risk

For the first time, researchers say they have developed a tool that can help predict a man's future risk of developing prostate cancer. The personalized risk calculator combines prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test results with additional prostate cancer risk factors, including previous prostate biopsy results, family history of prostate cancer, and prostate size.

"Doctors use PSA to determine whether a man currently has prostate cancer. But the idea of using a combination of baseline PSA levels and specific, known risk factors to give a longer-term view about prostate cancer risk is a new concept that we hope will become part of standard practice," says researcher Monique Roobol, PhD, an epidemiologist in urologic oncology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

For the study, Roobol and colleagues examined the value of PSA combined with digital rectal exam findings, prostate size, previous prostate biopsy results, family history of prostate cancer, and age at diagnosis in predicting the future risk of prostate cancer among 5,176 men in the Netherlands. The men had an initial screening to assess all of these risk factors and a second screening four years later.
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