(Tim Newman/ Medical News Today) — Prostate cancer is common, affecting nearly half of males over 50. However, it tends to develop slowly, and in many cases, health professionals do not consider it clinically significant. In other words, it is not likely to shorten the male’s life.
This poses a real problem for medical professionals, as it becomes difficult to know who to treat and when. On the one hand, it is important not to begin treatment if someone does not need it, but on the other hand, they must make sure that someone who is likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer receives the best care.
Currently, the two most common diagnostic tools are digital rectal exams and blood tests for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Although PSA is useful, there are issues. The National Cancer Institute provides an example:
“[O]nly about 25% 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.” (…)