ANCHOR LEAD: PSA SCREENING MAY STILL BE PRACTICAL WITH CERTAIN CONSTRAINTS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
One of the two major new studies looking at the impact of PSA screening on deaths from prostate cancer crunched some sobering numbers. Ballantine Carter, a prostate cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the findings of the study abbreviated ERSPC.
CARTER: The investigators in the ERSPC were able to estimate that for every life saved from a prostate cancer death they would have to screen about 1400 men and they would have to treat about fifty to prevent one prostate cancer death over a decade. So tremendous overdiagnosis and overtreatment. The ways around that are to come up with some method of identifying those people who have lethal disease rather than identifying everybody with prostate cancer. :28
Carter identifies overdiagnosis and overtreatment as two of the major issues facing prostate cancer management today. Many unnecessary biopsies are performed, and subsequent treatment of disease that may never have been problematic is rife. Carter says studies such as this will help physicians develop more rational treatments. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.