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A promising new diagnosis tool has been created for the faster diagnosis of prostate cancer.
The existing diagnosis procedure for cases of suspected prostate cancer includes a rectal examination and a blood test, so the new test should spare patients from painful, embarrassing and unnecessary exams for a diagnosis.
The new test involves a cheap urine sample which searched the urine for a protein called EN2, which is produced by prostate tumours and secreted into the urine. EN2 plays an important part in the development of the human foetus as an ‘early life’ protein, but it’s production is stopped after birth. The team at the University of Surrey found that prostate cancer patients had the protein switched back on, causing tumour growths and enlargement of the prostate.
Results have shown that the test is up to 70% accurate and doesn’t give false positive results without any evidence of prostatic disease, a performance which is better and more accurate than the current national screening statistics of breast and cervical cancers.
Described as the biggest breakthrough in prostate cancer in over 25 years, the new diagnosis tool hopes to combine accuracy with efficiency and simplicity, and could eventually lead all potential cases, whether showing symptoms or not, to be screened for the disease, just as women currently are for breast and cervical cancer.
The research team at Surrey University includes the test’s inventor Hardev Pandha, a professor of medical oncology. He said, “This new test could lead to faster detection rates that could save hundreds of lives and also offers the potential for huge cost savings.”
Prostate cancer is currently the most common male cancer, with around 41,000 diagnoses a year in the UK and one person dies from the disease every hour. Doctors still don’t have a 100% accurate way of testing for the disease, so the new test is a huge finding for healthcare professionals, patients and prostate cancer specialists alike.