Deaths from prostate cancer decline

With early detection and early treatment, the number of prostate cancer deaths can be significantly reduced, according to a new Laval University study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Since prostate cancer generally shows few symptoms until the cancer has spread (metastasis), a screening program must permit diagnosis before the cancer reaches an invasive stage. In Laval’s study of prostate cancer screening, randomly selected men (more than 46,000) between the ages of 45 and 80 were invited to participate. By the end of 1996, over 8000 men had responded to the invitation for screening.

Only 5 deaths from prostate cancer had occurred in the group of men who had been screened, for an incidence of 15 cancer deaths per 100,000 men-years. In comparison, prostate cancer deaths in the control group were close to 50 deaths per 100,000 men-years. The result? Screening showed a 69 percent decrease in the number of deaths due to cancer of the prostate. Prostate cancer is the second most frequent cause of cancer death in men.