PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening may be unable to detect prostate cancer, some scientists believe. More men who were screened died from prostate cancer compared with those who were not, research findings suggest.
The conclusion is controversial because it is based on an original research paper which had suggested that PSA screening could reduce death from prostate cancer by 69 per cent.
But some experts to whom the paper was presented said the research was flawed. Only 23 per cent of the men invited to join the screening programme actually did so, but the researchers had not allowed for this. In addition, 982 of the 8,137 men in the screening group had been placed in the control group which had not been screened. When the data was reanalysed, the death rate among the screened group was higher, said Peter Boyle from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan (Lancet, 1998; 351: 1563).