​This New, Easy Prostate Cancer Test Can Reduce Unnecessary Biopsies By 50 Percent

By Amber 0

Part of the controversy with PSA testing is that it’s not very specific: High levels can suggest prostate cancer, but a biopsy to check for cancerous cells is necessary to confirm a diagnosis.

And prostate biopsies—where your doctor inserts a thin, hollow needle in your rectum—come with their own risks, including erectile dysfunction and urinary difficulties, as well as pain, blood in semen, and blood in urine.

But now, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic have developed a new blood test that can cut down the need for biopsy by half. It’s called the IsoPSA, and it works by identifying molecular changes in the PSA protein.

In fact, when the researchers used both the IsoPSA test and the PSA test on patients already scheduled for biopsy, they discovered that the IsoPSA test was both more precise at both identifying cancer from other conditions and picking out patients with high-risk disease. (Find out why prostate cancer is more deadly in black men.)

That latter is important, the researchers say in a press release, because it helps doctors determine which patients can benefit from certain curative treatments, and which may have a cancer that is unlikely to cause them any harm.

More research needs to be done to confirm the new test’s effectiveness clinically, but if it is validated, it may provide an easy, noninvasive way to ID aggressive prostate caners—and cut down on unnecessary biopsies and treatments.

[via menshealth]