NEW YORK, March 7, 2012
Good news for those in favor of the one and only prostate cancer screening blood test, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), is coming from a decade-long prostate cancer research study in Europe. Researchers report as much as a 38 percent decline in prostate cancer deaths among those who undergo routine PSA screenings for prostate cancer.
Leading prostate cancer robotic surgeon, Dr. David Samadi, is hopeful that long-term studies such as this will quell some of the over-testing backlash surrounding annual PSA tests. “We know the PSA test is a successful diagnostic tool and we know that early diagnosis of prostate cancer saves lives. Effective screening measures are the key to eradicating diseases such as prostate cancer,” emphasized Dr. Samadi.
The long-term study set out to evaluate the impact of routine PSA blood screens on prostate cancer survival rates; many believe their findings speak volumes about the importance of early diagnosis. From 1991 to 2011, roughly 160,000 men were monitored in two groups – those who opted for routine PSA tests and those who chose not to be tested. Over the ten-year period researchers observed a 21 percent average lower death rate among the men who underwent routine PSA tests. In the last two years of the study, the rate jumped to a benefit of as much as 38 percent.
Men in the study, age 55-69, resided in eight different European countries, including Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. None of the men had been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer. Positive diagnosis during the study period was established through a PSA blood test followed by a digital rectal exam (DRE); a subsequent prostate biopsy was performed in patients whose PSA level was greater than or equal to three.
As Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Samadi believes “the decline in prostate cancer deaths with early diagnosis is undeniable.” He is particularly encouraged by the length and breadth of this study conducted by the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer. “Even more noteworthy is the fact that they looked beyond survival rate and considered tumor-free and metastatic-free conditions, as well as quality of life,” he added.
The PSA controversy, which extends well beyond U.S. borders, is primarily fueled by a concern of overages. Some specialists believe annual testing is too frequent and results in over-diagnosis and over-treatment. Concerns surrounding treatment side effects are compounded by the fact that some prostate cancers are slow growing and can reside in the body without causing serious harm or death.
“You have to consider the total picture with prostate cancer,” add Dr. Samadi. “If a patient is in otherwise good health and his localized prostate cancer is diagnosed early, robotic prostatectomy surgery is an extremely effective option for addressing the disease.” During robotic prostate surgery, the entire cancerous prostate is removed and the patient is left with a zero PSA level. As a leading urologic oncologist, Dr. Samadi has performed over 3,800 successful prostatectomy procedures and is highly experienced in robotic surgery, as well as traditional and laparoscopic surgical methods.
Surgeon experience is perhaps the single most important factor in successful robotic prostate cancer surgery and quality of life post-surgery. The robot cannot succeed without the direction of a highly skilled surgeon. Dr. Samadi is dedicated to improving the quality of international healthcare by routinely traveling overseas to train other urologic surgeons on his SMART surgery technique (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique).
“Surgeon expertise is critical to ensuring that the benefits of robotic prostatectomy surgery far outweigh the dangers of living with prostate cancer,” said Dr. Samadi, who routinely treats both domestic and inbound patients in his New York practice. “Prostate cancer diagnosis and robotic surgery are major events in the life of a man and his family, but it is a one-time ordeal. Watchful waiting can entail years of worry and anxiety, compounded by frequent testing to assess the growth and spread of the prostate cancer. It’s costly, dangerous, and highly unnecessary,” he concludes.Press Release