ANCHOR LEAD: TOO MANY MEN UNDERGO PROSTATE BIOPSY, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Many more men have biopsies on their prostate gland than turn out to have prostate cancer, pointing to the need for a specific and sensitive test for the disease. Robert Getzenberg, developer of such a test at Johns Hopkins, explains.
GETZENBERG: Right now we use PSA and PSA is not a cancer specific marker and this has led us to have to biopsy 6 men to find the one that has prostate cancer, therefore five out of six biopsies that are performed are in essence, unnecessary, since the men don’t really have prostate cancer. This has led to over a million biopsies that will be performed this year and more than 25 million men that are in the situation where they have elevated PSA levels but yet have a negative biopsy, and these men are uncertain about whether they have prostate cancer and it was missed on the biopsy or whether they don’t have prostate cancer. :31
Until EPCA comes on line, men should talk with their doctor about avoiding biopsy by doing regular physical exams and blood tests. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.