A screening trial for prostate cancer has reportedly been given the go-ahead on the NHS with around 300,000 men invited to take part based on their age and ethnicity
British men are to take part in a screening trial for prostate cancer that has been given the go-ahead and is set to save thousands of lives.
Health leaders have reportedly approved the landmark scheme with around 300,000 men to be invited to take part in the trial. MRI scans and other screening methods will be used for early detection of the cancer that is the most common among men in the UK.
There are around 52,300 new prostate cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s more than 140 every day, and around 12,000 people die from the disease yearly.
The NHS states that there is no single test for prostate cancer and says alll the methods used to help diagnose the condition have benefits and risks that your doctor should discuss with you. It is hoped that screening will give better results than the blood tests that are carried out currently.
Men who are aged 50 to 75 and at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer will be invited to take part in the trial while doctors will also bring in people based on their ethnicity. Black men have a higher risk of the disease and they will reportedly make up one in ten of the participants.
The pilot scheme, called TRANSFORM is likely to start next autumn with more information coming available in the coming months, reported the Daily Mail.
The current blood test, called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, that is offered by the NHS measures the level of PSA and may help detect early prostate cancer. If you are over 50, you can ask a GP for a PSA test.
PSA tests are not routinely used to screen for prostate cancer, as results can be unreliable. Your PSA level can also be raised by other, non-cancerous conditions. The NHS states: “Raised PSA levels also cannot tell a doctor whether you have life-threatening prostate cancer or not. If you have a raised PSA level, you may be offered an MRI scan of the prostate to help doctors decide if you need further tests and treatment.”
Earlier this year, analysis by Prostate Cancer UK from several clinical trials alongside real-world data from 16 NHS trusts suggested new multiparametric MRI scans, carried out on the NHS alongside the standard PSA test since 2019, helped cut the chance of diagnosing “insignificant” cancers by 70%.
Dr Matthew Hobbs, lead researcher and director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, speaking last February, said: “We’ve known for some time now that testing more men reduces prostate cancer deaths, but there have always been concerns about how many men would be harmed to achieve this. Our evidence shows that screening may now be a lot safer than previously thought.
“That’s why we are so pleased that the committee (UK’s National Screening Committee) is going to review the evidence once more. It’s important that they consider this study and actual outcomes from the real-world NHS data and we hope they will find that we’ve reduced harm enough to be ready to launch a screening programme for prostate cancer.”
The Mirror has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.
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