Medical Minute: Better Prostate Cancer Test

By: Jennifer Matthews
By: Jennifer Matthews

Bob Miles has had three biopsies of his prostate, after blood tests revealed elevated levels of PSA, a protein that when elevated indicates the possibility of prostate cancer.

"Every time they take a section through, through the prostate, the needle clicks, and you hear it, and you feel the stab of pain," says Bob.

Bob says it's an unpleasant experience but says it's nothing compared to the pain of watching his father die from prostate cancer.

All of bob's biopsies were negative. They're negative for as many as 75 percent of men who have them. Now, instead of a Biopsy, patients may only have to have a blood test to
Rule out cancer.

"What this new test does is looks at thousands of proteins at the same time rather than just the one protein and looks at the pattern of those proteins," says Dr. David Ornstein.

In a study, the new test accurately detected cancer 100 percent of the time. It correctly ruled it out in about 65 percent of cases, where the PSA level was high enough to
Warrant a biopsy.

Bob hopes the test will help men like him avoid future biopsies.

For more information, contact :

Dianne Shaw
University of North Carolina
dgs@med.unc.edu

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