Prostate cancer screening became a controversial topic among doctors and medical experts during the past year. Many say overtreatment is a problem, but a new test could help cut those risks.
Here's what happens: A man is diagnosed with prostate cancer and decides to have surgery; however, in many men, that cancer will never grow, spread or stop them from living a normal life.
Prostate tumors usually grow so slowly they will never threaten a man's life, but surgery can lead to impotence and incontinence. So, a new test that hit the market on Wednesday hopes to tell the patient more about they can get a better idea of whether surgery is necessary.
The company that developed the test says it could triple the number of men who could confidently monitor their tumors rather than undergo surgery or radiation treatments, but some are unsure whether it will actually result in different decisions because anyone who hears the word cancer often wants to get it out of their body as soon as possible.
The test looks at the activity level of 17 genes in a biopsy sample and computes a score from 0 to 100 to show the risk that cancer is aggressive. The test may tell someone there is only a 10% chance of the tumor becoming more aggressive. To one man, that's a low-risk. To someone else, they may say, "The chance is there, get the tumor out."
FOX 9 News spoke with Dr. Pete Sershon, who has worked with some of the people who actually developed the test, about what the test brings to the table.