Prostate cancer: Genetic screening in general practitioner surgery can take undiagnosed cases, studies show | Instant News


Genetic screening for prostate cancer in GP surgery can detect undiagnosed cases in healthy men at an early stage, new research shows.

The pilot study gave 307 participants aged between 55 and 69 scores based on their innate risk of disease.

Eighteen men found in the top 10 percent risk agreed to undergo an MRI scan and biopsy.


More than one third of them – seven out of 18 – are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In one case, a cancer the size of a grain of sand was detected by a team at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) Royal Marsden NHS Trust.

Researchers now plan to launch a larger study involving 5,000 men to show how population genetic screening can save lives.

“This is an interesting initial pilot study, which for the first time in the UK shows that genetic screening for prostate cancer is safe, feasible and potentially effective,” said Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of ICR.

“It’s exciting to see that this research is now developing into a larger-scale pilot, which if successful can demonstrate the potential for genetic screening to be a lifesaver.”

Researchers say genetic screening will allow prostate cancer to be treated early, with less invasive procedures and with fewer long-term side effects.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research and the European Research Council.

One participant who was diagnosed with prostate cancer as a result of genetic screening said the initial shock then gave way to relief.

“I feel better knowing that it has been identified at a very early stage,” said Remy Smits, 59.

“I also feel that I am now in a far better position to make informed decisions about future treatment options.

“I also like the fact that being part of this trial will make a difference for many men in the future.”

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