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Prostate cancer screening 'could reduce deaths by a fifth'

The number of men killed by prostate cancer could be cut by one fifth if regular screening was introduced, despite doubts about the test used, a major study has claimed.

Over a period of nine years, screening reduced the number of men dying from prostate cancer by 15%, increasing to 22% after 11 years.

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'Further research urgently needed' for prostate screens

Further research is "urgently needed" to set up a successful screening process in order to prevent prostate cancer, a leading scientist has said.

Professor Fritz Schroder, who lead a major study into prostate screening, said more research was needed to reduce the number of men "screened, biopsied, and treated".

PSA screening delivers a substantial reduction in prostate cancer deaths, similar or greater than that reported in screening for breast cancer.

However, over-diagnosis occurs in roughly 40% of cases detected by screening resulting in a high risk of over-treatment and common side-effects such as incontinence and impotence.

The time for population-based screening has not arrived.

Further research is urgently needed on ways to reduce over-diagnosis preferably by avoiding unnecessary biopsy procedures, and reducing the very large number of men who must be screened, biopsied, and treated to help only a few patients.

– Professor Fritz Schroder

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