(HealthDay News) – If incidence rates for the pre-prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing era (1983 to 1985) were present in the modern US population, 3 times the number of men would have been expected to present with metastatic (M1) prostate cancer (PC) than the actual number observed in 2008, according to a study published online July 30 in Cancer.

Emil Scosyrev, PhD, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues estimated the total number of patients who would be expected to present with M1 PC in the modern US population in a given year if the annual incidence rates of M1 PC were the same as the rates before PSA testing. The total number of men who presented in 2008 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 9 registries area was computed, and the number of cases expected to occur in the absence of PSA testing was estimated.

The researchers found that, in 2008, the observed and expected numbers presenting with M1 PC were 739 and 2,277, respectively, with a 3.1 expected-to-observed ratio. Application of this ratio to the total US population in 2008 would have resulted in approximately 25,000 men presenting with M1 PC, compared with the actual observed number of approximately 8,000 men.

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“We believe that these estimates must be taken into consideration (bearing in mind the limitations of observational data) when public health policy-level recommendations are made regarding PSA screening,” the authors conclude.

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