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Prostate cancer screening can save lives but it is too early for a national programme, study finds

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 07 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5055
  1. Anna Sayburn
  1. 1London

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer can reduce the number of deaths from the disease, a long term study has confirmed.1 But the authors added that “the time for population based screening has not arrived” and that further work was needed to reduce the harms from overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer.

The European Randomised Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer began in 1993 and included centres in eight European countries. It randomised 163 388 men to PSA screening every four years (two years in Sweden) or no screening. The latest results detailed the prostate cancer mortality data after 13 years’ follow-up.

The absolute risk reduction of PSA testing in death from prostate cancer after 13 years was 1.28 deaths in every 1000 men randomised—the equivalent of one fewer death from prostate cancer in every 781 men invited …

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