Prostate cancer tests 'underestimate aggressiveness'

Men with prostate cancer are being given false hope by tests that underestimate the aggressiveness of their disease, a study suggests.

Cancer Research calls for better prostate cancer tests

Better tests to define how aggressive a prostate cancer is needed, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute said, after it was reported that more than half of a group of men whose cancers were initially classified as slow-growing and confined turned out to have more dangerous tumours.

Urological surgeon Greg Shaw said:

This highlights the urgent need for better tests to define how aggressive a prostate cancer is from the outset, building on diagnostic tests like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, and new biopsy techniques which help to more accurately define the extent of the prostate cancer.

This would then enable us to counsel patients with more certainty whether the prostate cancer identified is suitable for active surveillance or not.

Whilst active surveillance would seem to be a safe approach for some men, nearly a third will end up needing surgery or radiotherapy within five years.

Read: Men with prostate cancer 'given false hope' by tests

Men with prostate cancer 'given false hope' by tests

Men with prostate cancer are being given false hope by tests that underestimate the aggressiveness of their disease, a study suggests.

Researchers found that more than half of a group of men whose cancers were initially classified as slow-growing and confined turned out to have more dangerous tumours.

Men with prostate cancer 'given false hope', new study suggests. Credit: PA

The findings, published in the British Journal Of Cancer, call into question the ability of experts to grade and stage prostate cancers on the basis of biopsy samples.

It also casts doubt on the "active surveillance" strategy of avoiding unnecessary radical treatment for patients with slow-growing prostate cancer.

Instead, these patients are often closely monitored but left alone until tests suggest their condition has worsened.

Read: 'Genetic signature' breakthrough in prostate cancer tests

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