Results of a prostate cancer study conducted by the University of Rochester medical center were released Feb. 12. Researchers looked at over 70,000 men with this form of cancer in the United States. The findings suggest that African American men and men over age 75 have a much greater risk for aggressive prostate cancers than previous thought. The study is being presented this week at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium organized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando, Fla.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men, the study reports. African American men are twice as likely to die from the disease. Men over age 75 represent 50 percent of all prostate cancer deaths.
The PSA test has been used to detect prostate cancers that may not detectable by physical examination of the prostate. In 2012, a panel suggested that the test was less useful in the elderly and recommended against it. Study authors suggest that this perception was based on a flawed model of aging in men. They point out that about two thirds of all men over 75 can expect to live an additional 10 years.
Failure to routinely test for prostate cancer using the PSA may be a contributing factor in the high death rate from the illness in those over age 75. Some 40 percent of all men with high-risk prostate cancers were over age 75. Early detection and rapid treatment would have a positive impact on those patients.