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Following suspicious PSA test results, many men are advised to undergo a prostate biopsy to check for the presence of cancer. However, new research suggests that this procedure may be associated with an increased risk of complications that require hospitalizations.
After examining Medicare claims for more than 150,000 individuals, researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that 6.9 percent of individuals who had prostate biopsies ended up being admitted to the hospital for complications. Comparatively, other out-patient procedures only resulted in 2.9 percent of patients being hospitalized.
The researchers said their findings underscore the importance of weighing the risks and benefits before referring individuals for biopsies. Just because they receive PSA test results that indicate they may have a tumor does not mean they are at risk for a life-threatening condition. In many cases it is more appropriate to judge PSA test results over a long period of time.
"It is important for men to be aware of the possible risks of prostate biopsies, which are often described as simple outpatient procedures," said lead researcher Edward Shaeffer.
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