New Study by Hopkins Scientists Eyes PSA Tests for Prostate Cancer

A new study backs a small but growing trend of evaluating the common blood tests in a more in-depth way in hopes of better predicting who has cancer that needs aggressive treatment and who just needs monitoring. Men should consider getting a "baseline" PSA test around age 40, instead of the more usual 50, says a team of Johns Hopkins researchers. "This is a test that doesn't just diagnose prostate cancer. It diagnoses prostate cancer that's going to actually cause harm," said Dr. H. Ballentine Carter, urology chief at Johns Hopkins University. The new study suggests that evaluating how fast a man's PSA level rises may help doctors decide when to biopsy and how aggressively to treat tumors. Dr. Carter says it's a good idea to order a biopsy for a man with a low but fast-rising PSA while men diagnosed with prostate cancer whose PSA is rising slowly may be ideal candidates for monitoring instead of surgery or other treatment modalities. Proton beam radiation therapy offers the least invasive option with minimum to no side effects.

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