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Genetics help doctors know if cancer is deadly

Category: Prostate

Following a positive PSA test of prostate cancer, men and their doctors may have several difficult choices. First and foremost among these is what type of treatment approach to take. They all have their own benefits and drawbacks, and choosing correctly is extremely important.

To help with this decision, a team of researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston recently developed a set of genetic biomarkers that will help diagnose a cancer’s aggressiveness, according to the Boston Globe. This could help doctors determine the most effective treatment approach.

For less severe cases, doctors will often recommend a strategy of watchful waiting to see if the growth develops. This avoids potentially painful treatment side effects, but leaves the door open that the growth will develop. More aggressive strategies like radiation or surgery can remove tumors completely, but often carry side effects.

However, the new screening method allows doctors to precisely predict whether a positive PSA test will develop into aggressive cancer that requires invasive treatment, or whether a more hands-off approach is most appropriate.

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