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Annual PSA screening cuts the risk of dying from prostate cancer by more than two-thirds, a new study concludes.

The research will reignite the controversy over the Government's 'screening on demand' policy for testing asymptomatic men.

Researchers estimated that only 3.6 per cent of men who had a yearly PSA blood test would die over a 10-year period, compared with 11.3 per cent of untested men.

The research, presented at the American Society for

Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's annual meeting in Denver, US, examined 1,492 men who were treated for prostate cancer between 1988 and 2002.

Study leader Dr Jason Ef-stathiou, a resident at the Harvard radiation oncology programme in Boston, said: 'The PSA blood test is the best simple screening test available for prostate cancer that picks up prostate cancer earlier, while it's still curable.'

But Dr James Kingsland, a member of the UK national cancer screening programme's scientific reference group for prostate cancer and a GP in Wallasey, Merseyside, said the study 'might be barking up the wrong tree'.

He said recent research had suggested measuring complex-ed PSA or the ratio of total to free PSA was more accurate than PSA testing.

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