New way to detect prostate cancer with a urine sample is 99% accurate

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/21/new-way-to-prostate-cancer-with-a-urine-sample-is-99-accurate.html

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New way to detect prostate cancer…

Having had three prostate biopsies in my life already, I can only say I hope this works.

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Related: I always love when people mix up prostate and prostrate. Also, it’s interesting that the best way to find a prostate is when prostrate.

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So no more yearly DRE??? Not sure how I feel about that…

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Was fixed on post but will not propagate to here as Discourse just won’t.

@orenwolf - a headline editing misalignment, again

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Define prostrate. Prostate best found when legs are curled up somewhat.

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I for one would be glad to forget about DRE.

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Well there goes my excuse for sticking my finger up my butt all the time.

(What? Too much info?)

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From what I understand, the problem with prostate cancer is not in the detection. The problem is that treatment for detected prostate cancer is often worse than the cancer. I’ve heard that more people die with prostate cancer than from it, but many people who have it detected will opt for life-altering treatments. More accurate detection, if it comes from increasing hit rate, may do more harm than good, especially if the edge cases that are detected are the non-aggressive ones. Moreover, if testing is easier to use (a urine test), then it will be used more often by people with less risk (i.e., younger, no family history, etc.), which will ultimately increase the false alarms, which will lead to more negative outcomes. If it reduces false positive rate, then that is a clear benefit, because you will reduce unnecessary treatments. If it does a better job at detecting the 10-15% that cases that will become aggressive versus the ~80% that do not, then it may improve long-term survival rates as well, but I think it remains likely that this will do nothing to improve patient outcomes, as counterintuitive as it seems.

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You make many good points, and indeed part of living with BPH is this balance between detection and treatment. That’s why many men adopt practices of “active surveillance” and “watchful waiting” when given a diagnosis.

However, this post apparently refers to an actual cancer-detection test, rather than a PSA-type test or DRE, which merely detect possible tumors or sites. A high PSA or suspicious DRE would normally be followed by a biopsy (or watchful waiting) to verify cancer cells in one or more cores. If this new test can replace biopsies, I think it will help prevent lots of pain. Moreover, biopsies themselves often have complications such as infections.

So, overall, I think a good thing here, even if it doesn’t change the calculus of whether to have surgery or treatment.

ETA: I should also add that prostate biopsies may miss cancer cells. There are 12 or 18 cores in a standard biopsy. So-called “saturation” biopsies will shoot a hundred or more needles. OUCH!

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Me and my friends in our late teens used to joke that “when it’s our turn, it will be a breath test”. I’m still 10 years before due but seems we’re on track and close enough already. Phew?

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I assumed that basically everyone with a prostate has or will get prostate cancer and that the hard part is knowing whether it’s the kind you die of or the kind you die with.

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lol, your BBS commenter rank (Rear Admiral) checks out…

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The prostrate apostate’s prostate. Say that five times fast!

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Does frequency of masturbation have any affect on prostate health? Asking for a friend… :grin:

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This could be very helpful for post-operative or post-radiation prostate cancer patients as well, especially if it’s more sensitive than the PSA test. The PSA threshold for prostate cancer re-occurance is only a little bit higher than the threshold of detectability or the margin of error.

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My medical history, or I should say my friend’s, suggests that it does not, but it can elevate your PSA if you do it too soon before getting your PSA test.

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Correct. They say no sex of any kind for at least 48 hours before the test. One of my PSAs was inflated by riding a bike the day before. It’s very sensitive

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Thank you for making me more informed about this, and doing it in a non-snarky way.

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