Washington: Annual prostate cancer screening does not reduce deaths from the disease, even among men in their 50s and 60s and those with underlying health conditions, a new study has claimed.A longer follow-up of more than 76,000 men in a major US study, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, shows that six years of aggressive, annual screening for prostate cancer led to more diagnoses of tumours but not to fewer deaths from the disease.“The data confirm that for most men, it is not necessary to be screened annually for prostate cancer,” Newswise quoted Gerald Andriole, the study leader as saying.“A large majority of the cancers we found are slow-growing tumours that are unlikely to be deadly,” he said.The PLCO study involved men aged 55 to 74, who were randomly assigned to receive either annual PSA tests for six years and digital rectal exams for four years or “routine care,” meaning they had the screening tests only if their physicians recommended them.The new research updates an earlier report of the data published in 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine. At that time, when nearly all men had been followed for seven years, Andriole and his colleagues did not find a mortality benefit from prostate cancer screening.Since so few men in the study had died from any causes, the researchers said then that it would be premature to make broad generalizations about whether men should continue to be screened. However, they did recommend against prostate cancer screening for men with a life expectancy of seven to 10 years or less.
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