The results of a new research study have revealed that prostate cancer is becoming less deadly, and has been in decline in both diagnoses and deaths.
Fewer Cases and Deaths Around the Globe
The World Health Organization presented the findings of a long-term study at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Atlanta this April. The study, which collected data gathered from between 1980 to 2012, found that the number of men both diagnosed with prostate cancer and dying of that illness either stabilizing or decreasing in most parts of the world.
Diagnoses rates declined significantly closer to the end of the study from 2008 to 2012, with 33 countries demonstrating a stable rate. In seven additional countries, the prostate cancer diagnosis rate actually declined; the country with the largest drop in diagnosis rates was the United States, showcasing the strides that US-backed research and modern treatment methods such as a robotic prostatectomy have made in treating this particular cancer.
What’s Driving this New Development
Scientists involved in the research study say that the marked drop in diagnoses, especially in the United States, may correlate with the use of more modern screening methods. The most common of these is screening for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a clear biomarker of prostate dysregulation in men. PSA screening, which was approved in the United States in 1986, has been used widely since.
There have been recommendations that have gone into place in recent years that have counseled to reduce dependency on this test to avoid false positives, however, as PSA levels alone don’t always indicate prostate cancer but other, less dangerous prostate issues such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, PSA screening is still a powerful tool in early detection and treatment that have contributed to better survival rates.
The research study’s results support this supposition, as countries around the world where PSA screening is less available such as those in the Caribbean and in former Iron Curtain countries in Eastern Europe, were found to diagnose prostate cancer later. This contributes to higher mortality rates, as a late-detected prostate tumor is likely to be more deadly.