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Less Frequent Screening for Prostate Cancer May Be OK

Screening every two years versus every four years does not cut rate of aggressive cancers

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for prostate cancer every two years versus every four years does not lead to lower rates of aggressive cancers, according to study findings published online Aug. 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Monique Roobol, Ph.D., of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues compared the rates and characteristics of cancers detected clinically within the screening interval (interval cancers) between two centers -- one offering prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening every two years and one performing PSA screening every four years -- to ascertain whether the time between screenings had any effect on cancer detection rates.

"The rate of interval cancer, especially aggressive interval cancer, was low in this study. The two-year screening interval had higher detection rates than the four-year interval but did not lead to lower rates of interval and aggressive interval prostate cancers," the authors conclude.

An accompanying editorial covers the controversy surrounding prostate cancer screening and the need for more definitive data. "Although many of us believe that early detection is saving lives, definitive evidence is lacking," he writes.

The authors of this study report that they received research funding from Wallac Oy, Hybritec Inc., Schering Plough and Abbott Pharmaceuticals.

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