There has been wide coverage in the last couple of weeks, most notably as featured on the “One Show”, of new research that argues that routine prostate cancer screening could reduce deaths from the disease.
It would appear that this new research has sparked a debate about whether routine screening for prostate cancer is likely to do more harm than good. The research was based on a large long-term study of the standard blood test, known as a PSA test or prostate-specific antigen test, on a group of men aged between 30 and 55. The PSA is a relatively un-invasive blood test which can be used to help doctors diagnose prostate cancer as it can indicate where there are raised levels of PSA in the blood. The men were then followed up over a long period of time.
It has been reported that the research found most men in the study who developed or died from advanced prostate cancer during follow-up tended to have the highest PSA levels in their 40s and 50s. The study was further reported as concluding that potentially incurable prostate cancers could be detected by careful surveillance of small subgroups of men with the highest PSA levels whilst longer re-resting could be considered for those with lower levels.
Despite the apparently supportive nature of the research for PSA testing it has been widely reported that the PSA alone is not sufficient and a more reliable test than the PSA test is needed before routine prostate cancer screening can be introduced.
Of particular concern is a lack of reporting of symptoms by men to their GPs or other medical professionals either based on embarrassment or a fear that their concerns will not be taken seriously or ignored. The advice from the medical profession recently has been that should men start to experience any urinary symptoms they should report these to their doctors for further investigations.
However those routine investigations are not always followed up or even undertaken. If you have concerns about the standard of treatment provided to you from your GP or other treating medical professional regarding symptoms or prostate cancer, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For free legal advice and help with making a claim please call 0800 158 5274 to speak to a specialist Clinical Negligence solicitor.