Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of death in men. Each year, in excess of 1.5 million men undergo biopsies to determine whether or not they have prostate cancer. Typically a male undergoes such a biopsy because on rectal exam, a prostate lesion is detected. Another reason so many men undergo prostate biopsies is because they have a positive PSA test. Despite the large numbers of biopsies performed on men, only about 250,000 of them are found to have cancer. One of the reasons for this is because the PSA test, even though elevated, does not necessarily mean that a man has prostate cancer.
Recently in the Journal “Urology”, a new test for prostate cancer is currently being used. This new test is called EPCA-2, which can not only detect prostate cancer, it can also determine whether or not this cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This new test is still undergoing clinical trials and review by the Food & Drug Administration. It could be available in the year 2008.
According to government statistics, following skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men. It is a leading cause of death in men. Each year, around 250,000 new cases are diagnosed, and around 27,000 men die from prostate cancer.
Currently, men are encouraged, once they reach the age of 40, to undergo yearly rectal examinations and PSA testing. The problem with PSA testing is that it results in many false positives. This means that the PSA is elevated even though the man does not have prostate cancer. Unfortunately, this results in many biopsies which are unnecessary. PSA testing has also been criticized because it does not distinguish between aggressive prostate cancer and non-aggressive or a slower growing cancer. Many men who have a slow growing prostate cancer do not die of the disease. In fact, years ago, studies were performed that revealed that at autopsy, many men had prostate cancer yet died of a disease totally unrelated to that cancer. According to the study published in “Urology”, men who had elevated EPCA-2 test had cancer 94% of the time. In comparison, men with positive PSA results had cancer only 19% of the time.
In sum, the EPCA-2 test will result in better being able to diagnose prostate cancer and will reduce the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies.
At the law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry we have successfully prosecuted a large number of cases for the failure to diagnose and properly treat prostate cancer. If you or a member of your family believe that you have been a victim of such an act of medical negligence, you may feel free to consult our law firm for a FREE consultation. We have two full-time medical physicians on staff and a large body of medical literature dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry is a medical malpractice law firm who has specialized in the area of medical negligence and medical malpractice claims for over 30 years.
Journal of Urology