The number of men in Australia with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests has increased by a third in the past decade, according to a new research study.
The study, published in the journal PSA: Clinical and Experimental, analysed data from 7,500 men aged 20-64 years.
“This increase in the number and types of prostate-cancer tests has been shown to be associated with a greater increase in risk,” Dr Matthew Leake, who led the study, told news.com.au.
“We found that over time the increase in detection rate has been driven by an increase in men with higher PSA test results.
It is unknown exactly how many men in the population have PSA tests and how many are being diagnosed. “
There is evidence that men with elevated PSA may have an increased risk of prostate cancer, but there is no evidence that it is associated with an increased mortality risk.”
It is unknown exactly how many men in the population have PSA tests and how many are being diagnosed.
Dr Leake said it was likely that the rate of testing had increased as men began to have more aggressive prostate cancer.
“For those who do not have high PSA levels, it can be very difficult to determine whether the test result is positive or negative,” he said.
“In the past we’ve seen that there’s been an increase of men having tests that were not very sensitive, which was very important to keep in mind for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancers.”
Dr Leak said the findings of the study did not mean that men who had tests high in PSA had a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men who did not have such tests.
However, the study was the first to explore the possible association between PSA and prostate cancer and he said it suggested PSA could play a role in the progression of prostate disease.
“It is important to emphasise that PSA is not a cure for prostate cancer,” Dr Leaker said.
“PSA is a biomarker of the way your body processes PSA.
It is also a risk factor for prostate cancers, so it is important for men to be aware of the Psa level in their blood.”
Men in the study were asked whether they had ever tested positive for PSA, and were asked about their overall risk of dying from prostate cancer compared to a control group.
“The main finding of this study is that if a man had a positive PSA scan, there is a significantly higher risk than if he did not,” Dr Laker said in a press release.
“PSA testing is a relatively new diagnostic tool in the field, and there are many unanswered questions surrounding the way PSA can affect prostate cancer.”
Dr Leake explained that while PSA screening was not widely used in the United States, there were some studies showing a correlation between PSC and prostate cancers.
However there were no studies looking at PSA as a risk marker in Australia.
“Most studies on PSA are done in Western countries where men have the highest exposure to PSA,” Dr Lee said.