£10 urine test could detect prostate cancer and save thousands of lives
Researchers have developed a urine test for prostate cancer which can both identify the disease and determine the size of the tumour. This is a significant development in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease because currently tests are only able to detect if the tumour is present and not how large it is so doctors have to carry out invasive biopsies to establish how large it actually is.
Prostate cancer grows slowly and is not always life threatening, however because current tests cannot detect the size of tumours men are subjected to needless surgery and radiotherapy which can lead to incontinence and impotence.
This new test works similar to a pregnancy test and is said to be twice as reliable as the current blood test. It will allow patients to find out whether they had prostate cancer based on the levels of EN2 in their urine. The EN2 protein is usually undetectable in normal cells but is present in increasing amounts as tumours grow.
In trials of 77,000 men over five years the new test detected approximately 90% of prostate cancers. The new test is currently being developed and needs to be approved by regulators but could be available within 18 months.
Black African and Caribbean men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The risk for the general population is 1 in 8 however in black men it is 1 in 4. Therefore men over the age of 40 should be aware of the symptoms and risk factors associated with prostate cancer. Men who are aged 50 and above are entitled to free prostate cancer checks and should speak to their GP about getting a PSA test. For more information regarding prostate cancer contact prostate cancer UK