An “impressive" new blood test for prostate cancer that is 94 per cent accurate has been created by scientists.
More than 47,000 men in England receive a diagnosis of the condition each year, according to Prostate Cancer UK. Over 10,000 of them die from it, and one in eight men in the UK may receive a prostate cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime.
There is no single test for prostate cancer. However, in most cases a blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is used to measure the level of PSA in the blood.
PSA is a substance made by the prostate and the levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
Oxford BioDynamics discovered, in partnership with Imperial College and the University of East Anglia (UEA), that more instances might be uncovered when a chromosomal was combined with a regular PSA test.
After presenting their findings in the journal Cancers, the study team came to the conclusion that the PSA test currently used by the NHS is not accurate enough.
As a result, numerous unnecessary prostate biopsies of healthy men have taken place. The study claims that these tests have also provided "false reassurance in some cancer-stricken individuals."
The new test was assessed in a pilot research including 147 individuals and it was found to considerably enhance disease detection. The research team came to the 94 per cent accurate conclusion because every man in the study had prostate cancer.
This new test is quick, minimally intrusive and affordable in addition to being extremely accurate. The test will be used on a group of men whose cancer status is unknown in the next phase of the study.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
According to the NHS, symptoms of prostate cancer include needing to pee more frequently, often during the night, needing to rush to the toilet, difficulty in starting to pee, straining or taking a long time while peeing, weak flow, blood in urine and semen.
It's not always the case that these symptoms indicate prostate cancer. Benign prostate enlargement is a non-cancerous disorder that causes the prostates of many older men to expand.
Bone and back discomfort, loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and accidental weight loss are indications that the cancer may have spread.
Prostate cancer primarily affects men over 50, with the risk increasing with age. It is even higher for black men and those with a family history of the disease.
Men over 50 are most commonly affected by prostate cancer, and the risk rises with age. For black men and those with a family history of the illness, it is significantly higher.