A new blood test for prostate cancer has been developed which gives men the chance to participate in deciding their own treatment options for the first time.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second highest cause of cancer deaths. 30 men succumb to the disease each day, the majority of whom are over 65.
More than 100 men are diagnosed with it each day and rates have increased by 10% in the past five years.
This new test is vastly superior to the standard PSA test. It shows how advanced the disease is, giving patients the choice to undergo drastic surgery or let it take its course.
Testing the levels of testosterone in the blood allows doctors to see how aggressive the cancer is before performing any surgery.
Numerous men with advanced prostate cancer have radical operations to remove the prostate. However, if the cancer has already spread, relapse is common and survival rate are low.
Presently, cancer’s aggressiveness can only be measure by examining a prostate tissue sample via a biopsy. This is known as the Gleason score and is a guide to the best treatment and possible outcomes.
Researchers have found that low levels of testosterone indicate a patient will have a high Gleason score which indicates a poor outcome after treatment.
Hormone levels were correlated to Gleason cores in 1,017 patients who underwent radical surgery to remove their prostates. The results showed that 118 of these patients had a Gleason pattern 5, which is the highest score.
It appears that low levels of testosterone increase the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer which suggests that raising levels could lessen the risk.
This research not only promises a reliable new test but a possible way to prevent prostate cancer.