Experts urge prostate cancer ‘man-o-gram’

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prostate cancer experts urged the U.S. Congress and the incoming Obama administration on Wednesday to make a major research commitment to find better detection methods, including what they call a “man-o-gram.”

Their idea involves a sophisticated ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging or other method to find dangerous prostate tumors, akin to the common mammogram scans used to find breast tumors.

Dr. Faina Shtern, who heads the Boston-based nonprofit AdMeTech Foundation coordinating the advocacy effort, said $500 million in research funding is needed over five years.

Many men now have a blood test measuring levels of a protein produced by the prostate gland called prostate-specific antigen, or PSA.

Elevated PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer, but benign conditions can also raise levels. Men with elevated PSA often must have an invasive biopsy to test prostate tissue for cancer.

Only about 25 percent to 30 percent of men who have the biopsy actually turn out to have prostate cancer. And experts believe that many cancers detected after PSA screening are so minor they would never present a threat if left untreated.

There is a controversy among cancer researchers about whether PSA screening actually saves lives, with many arguing that it leads to unnecessary surgical and radiation treatment for minor cancers, causing negative side effects.

And because there is no reliable imaging technique to guide the selection of tissue for the biopsies, doctors take random plugs of prostate blindly and may miss tumors.

“Right now what is done essentially is barbaric,” Shtern said in a telephone interview.

“We need to be able to find the cancers that are there that are going to be significant — and only target those,” Dr. Thomas Wheeler of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, one of the experts, said in a telephone interview.

More than two dozen experts from institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School, the University of Chicago, the University of Miami and Stanford University, joined the effort.

They signed letters to Congress and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which funds medical research, saying more accurate imaging technology would lead to better guidance for diagnosis, biopsy and minimally invasive treatment.

Shtern said there needs to be a better initial screening test than the PSA test, perhaps a new blood or urine test focused on another biological indicator of prostate cancer.

In the United States, 29,000 men die of prostate cancer each year, making it the No. 2 cause of cancer death in men, behind lung cancer. It is the second most-commonly diagnosed cancer in men worldwide and kills about 254,000 a year.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Doina Chiacu)


Related Posts:

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - A screening schedule that alternates between a breast MRI and a mammogram every six months may do a better job of spotting early cancers in high-risk women than an annual exam, U.S. researchers said on Saturday. Women who are at high risk for breast cancer currently get a yearly mammogram and

Full Post: Rotating breast cancer tests helps high-risk women

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Men at higher-than-average risk of prostate cancer are more likely to seek regular screening if they are married or live with a significant other, a new study finds. Researchers found that among more than 2,400 men ages 40 to 79, those with a family history of prostate cancer were more likely

Full Post: Men who live alone fall short on prostate screening

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A study of Vietnam War era veterans shows that exposure to Agent Orange is associated with more than a two-fold increased risk of prostate cancer, earlier disease onset, and prostate cancer with more aggressive features. “Consideration should be made to classify this group of individuals as ‘high risk’, just like men

Full Post: Agent Orange exposure linked to prostate cancer

By Michael Kahn LONDON (Reuters) - Researchers who tracked breast cancer rates in Norwegian women proposed the controversial notion on Monday that some tumors found with mammograms might otherwise naturally disappear on their own if left undetected. But leading cancer experts expressed doubt about the findings and urged women to continue to get regular mammograms, saying this

Full Post: Some breast cancers may naturally regress: study

LONDON (Reuters) - Genentech and Roche’s cancer drug Avastin can help find tumors as well as treat them, scientists said on Wednesday. After tagging the antibody drug with a radioactive tracer and injecting it into mice, researchers found it successfully targeted cancer cells and this enabled them to produce well-defined images of tumors during scanning. When compared

Full Post: Cancer drug Avastin may work as imaging tool too

Site Navigation

Most Read