Prostate Cancer Screening May Cause More Harm Than Good, Study Finds


A 15-year trial reveals alarming rates of misdiagnosis, with one in six flagged cases being incorrect, prompting concerns among experts about the effectiveness of PSA blood tests as screening tools for prostate cancer.

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Conducted by researchers from the universities of Bristol, Oxford, and Cambridge, the trial involved over 400,000 men aged 50-69, with half receiving PSA tests. While the test showed a slight reduction in prostate cancer deaths, it also resulted in significant overdiagnosis and missed detection of aggressive cancers.

Lead author Professor Richard Martin emphasized that the marginal reduction in prostate cancer deaths does not outweigh the potential harms of unnecessary treatments. He called for improved methods to detect aggressive cancers earlier.

Prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK, lacks a national screening program due to uncertainties regarding the balance of benefits and harms.

Dr. Neil Smith, GP for Cancer Research UK, echoed concerns about the accuracy of PSA tests, emphasizing the importance of early detection through symptom awareness.

Meanwhile, ongoing research aims to develop more effective diagnostic tools, such as MRI scans, to improve early detection and reduce unnecessary harm from screenings.

In a related study, researchers proposed streamlining MRI scans for prostate cancer to enhance accessibility and affordability without compromising accuracy, highlighting the need for high-quality diagnostic procedures.

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