PSA use fuelling wide Ca variation
The incidence of prostate cancer is shooting up three times as fast in some PCTs as others amid stark variation in use of PSA testing, a new study reveals.
Rates of biopsy and radical prostatectomy have also spiralled in some trusts but death rates remain uniform across the country, suggesting earlier diagnosis is of no benefit.
Socioeconomic factors accounted for some of the variation but differences in PSA testing policies between PCTs might also be important, the researchers said.
Study leader Dr Sean Mc-Phail, senior information analyst at the South-West Cancer Observatory, said: 'The more PSA tests the more diagnoses of prostate cancer, and whether it's deprivation or local guidance GPs are following, it will influence that.'
Dr McPhail, who is feeding the results into the NICE review on management of prostate cancer, due to report next year, said the lack of variation in mortality raised doubts over whether men were treated appropriately.
'You're getting more men at an earlier stage of disease so we have to decide whether the approach that was correct 10 years ago is still correct now.'
Prostate cancer cases in England increased from 19,000 to 27,000 between 1994 and 2003, according to the research, to be presented at a Society for Social Medicine conference in Leeds.