The test—which measures protein levels produced by the prostate gland—should be relegated to a secondary role, says Prof Mathieu Boniol, from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, and shouldn’t be used as routine screening for healthy men.
The test and treatment don’t save lives, but they do affect quality of life, often causing impotence and incontinence, he says. To prove his point, he assessed the progress of 1,000 men aged between 55 and 69 who weren’t screened against a further 1,000 were had the PSA test. The death rates in the two groups were almost identical, he said, yet the screened group had double the number of biopsies, 35 additional prostate cancers diagnosed, and 12 additional cases of impotence and three of incontinence.
(Source: European Cancer Congress, September 29, 2013)