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Mayo Clinic Study Suggests Routine Prostate Size Evaluation Not As Effective in Cancer Screening

March 17, 2010
New Mayo Clinic research studied the association between prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and prostate size and found that routine annual evaluation of prostate growth is not necessarily a predictor for the development of prostate cancer. But the study suggests that if a mans PSA level is rising quickly, a prostate biopsy is reasonable to determine if he has prostate cancer. These findings are being presented this week at the North Central Section of the American Urological Association in Scottsdale, Ariz.Of the 616 men, 58 (9.4 percent) developed prostate cancer. Men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer had a faster rise in PSA (6 percent/year) compared to men who were not diagnosed with cancer (3.3 percent/year). However, the increase in prostate size was similar between these two groups (median change of 2.2 percent/year).

PSA is a substance produced in the prostate gland. Normally, a small amount of PSA enters the bloodstream. A higher amount of PSA or an abrupt rise in PSA levels can indicate a problem, possibly cancer.

The question were trying to answer is, if we see a man with a rising PSA level, could this change in PSA be explained by a proportional increase in prostate size? says Dr. Breau. Our data indicate that men with or without prostate cancer have similar rates of prostate growth. If a mans PSA is quickly rising, he likely deserves a prostate biopsy to determine if he has prostate cancer. Assessment of change in prostate size should not influence the decision to biopsy.

Dr. Breau discusses the study and it's findings in this video.

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