As part of strategy to reduce rising deaths from prostate cancers, scientists said using a controversial blood test to screen all men for prostate cancer could cut deaths from the disease by 20 per cent.

According to the findings of a new study published in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening would save a ‘significant’ number of lives.

These followed the work of a team of American scientists who re-examined two major studies which had formerly been taken to contradict each other as to the benefits of population-wide screening, using the PSA test.

Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland, the gland that produces some of the fluid in semen and plays a role in urine control in men.

The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.

According to medical experts, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men of black origin but it is also treatable if found in the early stages.

In 2017, the American Cancer Society (ACS) predicts that there would be around 161,360 new diagnoses of prostate cancer in the United States (U.S), and that around 26,730 fatalities will occur because of it.

On its part, Nigeria records about 100,000 new cases of cancers including cancers of the prostate, colon, breast, cervix, among others.

However, among Nigerian men, prostate cancer is very common, with majority of those suffering the condition presenting at a very late stage when medical personnel cannot do much to save the lives of affected men.

However, the new analysis found that the two studies, involving thousands of patients, concurred that PSA screening would save a ‘significant’ number of lives.

According to a report in ‘The Telegraph’, although, the PSA tests were not completely reliable and can suggest prostate cancer when no cancer exists, they can also yield false negative results because up to 15 per cent of men with the disease have normal PSA levels.

“In addition, many cases of prostate cancer progress extremely slowly, meaning early diagnosis can unnecessarily worry men into opting for treatment with profound side-effects.

Karen Stalbow, Head of Policy, Knowledge and Impact at Prostate Cancer UK said: “Early diagnosis of prostate cancer is vital to saving men’s lives.”

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