New FDA ruling may reduce unnecessary prostate biopsies

TAMPA - Doctor Julio Pow-Sang is the Chair of the Department of GU Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center.  He spends his days treating patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer. "When one hears the word cancer, it has a bad connotation. It's not really a bad thing. The first thing is to understand the cancer. It helps tremendously to making solid decisions." 

Prostate cancer is usually slow-growing and slow to spread. It's a challenging time for patients and their families who must understand the diagnosis, and make decisions about the next steps, tests and treatment. Dr. Pow-Sang says, "The most common test is the PSA, which is a blood test and test for a compound by the prostate and circulates in the blood stream.  One of the problems with this test is its not very accurate."

That's why there is always a search for a better test. Doctors hope the recently approved Gen-Probes "Progensa" test will compliment the initial PSA test.  It's the first urine-based molecular test to help determine the need for repeat biopsies. "The promise of this test, in the men we are talking about where the PSA is in question, one may not do a biopsy or not.  The test has more value, especially when the test is negative."

Doctor Pow-Sang stresses one of the reasons the new test will help patients is because biopsies are not risk-free. Sometimes a bad infection can develop, resulting in hospitalization. Now with this test, many people will not have to undergo unnecessary biopsies.

The FDA approval of the Progensa pca-3 was based on a clinical study that began in August 2009.

If you would like to learn more about the new test visit .

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