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In recent years, the utility of PSA testing has come under fire from some experts who believe that it leads to overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment of prostate cancer. However, a new study from a team of Northwestern University researchers has shown that the test accurately predicts future cases of the disease in the vast majority of men who receive it.
The investigators looked at the medical records of 97 men who received PSA test results that indicated they may be at risk for prostate cancer, but who subsequently had a negative biopsy. They found that 66 percent of these men were eventually diagnosed with prostate cancer, 8 percent had prostatitis and another 6 percent had premalignant lesions, all of which require treatment.
Given the fact that 81 percent of men with rising PSA levels eventually require prostate treatment, the researchers said that the test should remain a central procedure in diagnosing men's health issues.
"Our findings show an elevated and rising PSA level or velocity should lead a clinician to follow a patient more closely, even if he has a negative biopsy," said William Catalona, who led the study. "One negative biopsy isn't the end of the road."
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