Screening for early prostate cancer detection may reduce the rate of newly diagnosed metastatic disease.
In a published study researchers evaluated the incidence of a men receiving a diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer at their initial prostate cancer diagnosis using data extracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program database. Their analysis was of men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at diagnosis, not of early-stage disease that then progressed and became metastatic.
In this perspective study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors describe trends in metastatic prostate cancer diagnosis prior to and more than a decade after the widespread use of the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test came into general use. They found that the incidence of initial diagnoses of metastatic prostate cancer fell by approximately 50% within 7 years of the start of the widespread use of PSA tests in 1990.
One of the study researchers, Dr. Welch indicated “the rapid uptake of PSA screening led to a dramatic spike in overall prostate cancer diagnoses during the early 1990s — one that’s unrivaled in US cancer data.”
In their discussion, the study authors postulated that the many interventions we have made to reduce prostate cancer risk as well as the reductions in environmental carcinogens might contribute to a reduction in the incidence of metastatic prostate cancer, but they believe that “it’s hard to imagine another factor