Half Of Prostate Cancer Patients 'Misdiagnosed'

Prostate Cancer Tests Are Often Poor At Gauging How Much The Disease Has Progressed By

11.04.2014

A new study has found the aggressiveness of half of prostate cancer patients' tumours are underestimated by doctors.

Research involving 847 men with the disease found who 209 of the 415 who were told their cancer was slow-growing were later found to have a more aggressive form of the disease, meaning they have a higher risk of mortality.

For almost a third of the 415 men in question, the cancer had spread beyond the prostate, which is very dangerous and could mean vital organs, including the lungs, kidneys and brain, are put under strain.

According to the BBC, scientists are now calling for better testing procedures to help more patients be given more accurate information, and thus treatment, about their cancer.

Prostate cancer remains the most common type of malignancy in the UK, with 41,700 new cases diagnosed each year, with 10,800 men dying of the disease in the same time period.

Greg Shaw, urological surgeon at the University of Cambridge, said there are a "surprising" number of men who are not told they have an aggressive form of the disease, which has a substantial negative impact on their survival chances.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Accurate prostate cancer diagnosis continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing the disease today.

"The results of this study highlight yet again that existing tests cannot provide a precise picture of the aggressiveness of a man's cancer, often leaving men and their doctors to make difficult decisions about treatment without all the facts."

Prostate Cancer UK has led a high-profile campaign to raise awareness about the disease in recent months. The charity has sought to raise awareness about symptoms that could indicate the presence of a tumour in the prostate.

Signs of prostate cancer include frequent urination, passing blood in urine or semen, difficulty in urinating, or pain when going to the toilet.

Prostate cancer is one of the most survivable types of cancer, but it is also very common in over-65s.

Expert Opinion
These are alarming figures and it is important that steps are taken to ensure that adequate testing is carried out for all patients.

“Early diagnosis is crucial to ensure the maximum amount of treatment options, thus significantly improving the chances of survival for many types of cancer.

“For almost half of the men involved in this research to have the cancer spread leaving them at a higher risk of mortality from the condition is simply unacceptable. These patients will be missing out on vital treatment because they are not being diagnosed quick enough. Action is needed to ensure sufferers are given the best possible chance of beating their cancer.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner