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Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio discovered that the use of a lab test to screen for prostate specific antigen (PSA) may have improved prostate cancer survival rates since it was introduced in the mid-1990s.
This conclusion is based on a review of three clinical trials that included prostate cancer patients who underwent androgen deprivation treatment. Two of these trials took place before PSA screening became widespread, while the other took place after.
Data analysis revealed that the median survival times of patients treated during 1985 to 1986 and 1989 to 1994 were 30 and 33 months, respectively. By contrast, the survival time of patients between 1995 and 2009 was 49 months. Overall, the risk of death fell by 30 percent between the earliest and latest studies.
"Our analysis indicates an overall improvement in risk adjusted survival rates for non-African American and African American men. Of note is the resolution of disparity in survival between the races found in earlier studies," says lead investigator Ian Thompson, Jr., M.D.
While PSA screening may have influenced these results, the researchers speculated that greater awareness and healthy behavior also played major roles.
Men who want to find out if they have prostate cancer can undergo a lab test to screen for PSA.
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