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Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.
On the other hand, most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it.
In fact, in certain men, prostate tumors do not develop into cancer.
These facts have prompted scientists at the University of Michigan to look for an alternative to the costly and invasive method now used to make a diagnosis.
Until now, a biopsy was needed to rule out cancer
The standard first step in making a diagnosis of prostate cancer is a blood test that detects abnormally high levels of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
But most men whose tests show an elevated PSA level do not actually have prostate cancer. That’s referred to as a false-positive test.
Until recently, the only way to tell who had cancer and who didn’t was to follow up a PSA test with a procedure called a transrectal biopsy.
It’s uncomfortable and invasive and, as with any surgery, it carries a small risk of complications. It can lead to serious infection, pain and bleeding, not to mention loads of anxiety.
And according to the National Cancer Institute, only about 25 percent of men who have a prostate biopsy due to an elevated PSA level actually are found to have prostate cancer when a biopsy is done.
But now, a new urine test based on research performed at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center may help men get a definite answer without unnecessary worry or unnecessary biopsies…
Now, a urine test that can make the call
Researchers at the University discovered that half of all prostate tumors contain a genetic abnormality that acts like an “on-switch” for the development of prostate cancer.
Based on that research, a U-M startup company developed the MyProstateScore test, which measures levels of these abnormal genes in a patient’s urine.
“Our ultimate goal was to determine whether the MyProstateScore test could be a practical, reliable test that could rule out the need for more costly or invasive testing in men referred for a prostate biopsy,” says study lead author Dr. Jeffrey Tosoian, a clinical lecturer in urology at Michigan Medicine and co-founders of LynxDX, a startup company that hopes to make the urine test more widely available
In a validation study that included more than 1,500 patients, they found that had the MyProstateScore test been available, one-third of unnecessary prostate cancer biopsies could have been avoided.
Among these 1,525 patients, 338 (22%) had cancers detected on biopsy that were group grade 2 or higher, meaning they were serious enough to warrant immediate treatment.
387 biopsies that found no cancer or slow-growing cancer could have been avoided. Meanwhile, the test would have missed only 10 clinically significant cancers that would have warranted immediate treatment.
“The data show that this straightforward, secondary testing approach could reduce the use of more costly and invasive procedures following a PSA test,” Tosoian says.
Keeping your prostate cancer-free
Prevention is the best treatment, and there are plenty of ways to keep prostate cancer away…
Diet is a great place to start. So, here’s a basic guide to eating habits that will keep your prostate healthy.
Japanese men have the lowest rate of prostate cancer in the world. If you’re serious about avoiding prostate cancer, you’ll want to do what you can to duplicate a Japanese man’s diet and lifestyle. It’s not hard – no exotic foods involved!
Some of the foods you’ll want to stock up on, particularly if you’re over 40, are coffee, green tea, and pomegranates.
Wondering what foods to avoid? Fried foods, processed meats, sugary drinks and baked goods, and excessive alcohol… pretty much the same foods that are bad for you for many other reasons.
Next, do all you can to keep yourself at a healthy weight. Numerous studies have linked hormones secreted by excess fat cells with aggressive prostate cancer. And belly fat, in particular, that notorious “spare tire,” has been associated with death from prostate cancer.
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!
Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer American Cancer Society