New tool for detecting and measuring aggressiveness of prostate cancer

Scientists claim method is potentially more accurate than PSA and could minimize predicament of over-diagnosis at screening.

Scientists in Ireland have developed a technique they hoped would be a more reliable and accurate method to detect prostate cancer, in findings recently published by the peer-reviewed open access scientific journal Advances in Modern Oncology Research (AMOR).

Prostate cancer, afflicting mostly male over age 60, is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men (after skin cancer) and is among the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men, according to World Health Organization.

Common screening routines for prostate cancer are blood test to detect elevated level of a protein produced by the prostate called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and/or a digital rectal exam (DRE) in which a doctor feels the prostate through the rectum to search for lumps known as nodules.

If PSA or DRE test results are abnormal, there are several tests which can be administered to help confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s recommendation. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), for instance, uses magnetic fields to produce detailed images of the body and measure the tumor’s size.

A transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) test, meanwhile, is a procedure in which a doctor inserts a probe into the rectum to capture images of the prostate using sound waves. TRUS is usually done at the same time as another test: core needle biopsy, in which a thin, hollow needle pierces through the rectum wall to remove a small core prostate tissue for microscopic examination.

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