Health Team

Test Can Detect Prostate Cancer Before It Appears

Posted January 17, 2008

— Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have developed a genetic blood test to determine a man's risk for prostate cancer before it appears.

The trial results appear in the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers examined five places in the genetic code.

When any four of them were abnormal, the probability of prostate cancer increased by as much as 500 percent.

Until now, family history was the best way to measure risk. A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam lead to a diagnosis.

Dr. Herbert Lepore with the New York University Medical Center said high-tech advances are exciting, but a PSA test is still the best weapon, if done early and often.

"Rather than doing some of these more complex genetics studies to assign risk, the simpler solution may be, let's just screen everyone who is 40, instead of 50," he said.

At least one company, though, plans to start offering the blood test in the coming months. It could be years until it's available on a widespread basis, however.

Still, it's already an inspiration for the cancer-fighting community.

"Every step is a major step, and something like this is absolutely phenomenal," said Bob Brown, with the American Cancer Society Foundation.


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  • daddyham Jan 22, 2008

    Sure wish they had had this test 2-3 years ago. Would possibly have prevented me from going through the ordeal of prostate surgery. There was little or no pain, but the lack of control of my urinary tract afterwards was sometimes embarrassing. Under control now, but currently suffering from an acute case ED. (Ain't funny, McGee.)

  • Tackman792000 Jan 22, 2008

    As a 46 year old prostate cancer survivor I think this is great news! I encourage all men over 40 to be screened. Mine was detected in the very early stages and I recovered without any hormones, radiation, or chemo. Early detection really works!

  • dolphins Jan 21, 2008

    My boyfriends father had prostate cancer and it was the first time he went to this doctor wasnt even sick just getting his annually check up the doctor did some blood work and come to find out he had prostate cancer. but he has recovered. he has been clear free since 2005

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Jan 18, 2008

    This is good news. Anything to make screening easier... :-0

  • iwideopen Jan 18, 2008

    This is great news. I just wish the powers that be would focus more on positive things like this instead of focusing on more and more lethal methods of killing each other.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Jan 18, 2008

    OK Boys, take this test, I was only 52 with no family history of cancer....