A study published last Tuesday in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease informed that there has been an alarming increase of metastatic prostate cancer in the United State throughout the last decade. The background of the study discusses the change in the screening process. The study identified that between 2004 and 2013, there were more than 767,000 men from 1,089 medical establishments nationwide who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The data was based on the National Cancer Data Base.

Disease has Become More Aggressive

Dr. Edward Schaeffer from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine expressed a possibility that the disease has become more aggressive even if there are only a few men being screened.

The authors wanted to find out if the low periodic use of blood screening had prompted changes in the occurrence of advance disease during diagnosis.

Prostate Specific Antigen

The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) was against using a prostate-specific antigen to check men from prostate cancer back in 2012. The reason for this is that harm outweighs benefit. 

Upon administering the test, it found a few men with prostate cancer. It caused some patients to treat a slow-growing prostate tumors that would never have harmed them. The treatment also caused side effects from impotence to incontinence.

Misguided Epidemiology

American Cancer Society posted a statement criticizing the findings. Chief medical officer, Dr. Otis Brawley referred the study as a "misguided epidemiology." They said that the study conducted didn't pass with statistics experts, the increase may not be true.

The study stated that there has been an increase of 72 percent of advanced prostate cancer in the United States. Dr. Brawley countered these findings by stating that the percentage could be meaningless based on the population in the United States. He also said that the scientists couldn't depend on just the quantity of cases. They have to calculate rates, which means the quantity of cases per a specific number of individuals.

Dr. Christopher Filson also expressed his doubts over the study. He is an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine. He said that he doesn't want to claim the study's results are wrong but the study's approach in analyzing the questions conjure many possible different interpretations.

Senior author of the study, Dr. Schaeffer pointed out that the scientists did not claim a link between the findings and the screening. Advanced cases were present before that. Dr. Brawley elaborated that the increase of advanced cases is due to the improvements in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and doctor's ability finding it.