There might be a new home urine test for prostate cancer soon
Late detection of prostate cancer may soon be a thing of the past. A research team at the University of East Anglia, UK, recently said that they have developed an at-home urine collection kit that can make it much easier to test for prostate cancer.
The test, called PUR (prostate urine risk), will reportedly check for specific biomarkers of prostate cancer in the urine. It will be able to tell you five years in advance if you are going to develop aggressive prostate cancer and just how much risk you are at.
According to The Lancet, prostate cancer is the fifth most common cancer among men in India. Currently, prostate cancer is diagnosed through a blood test or a digital rectal exam, both of which are invasive and cause some discomfort. A urine test, on the other hand, is not invasive.
In a press release by the University of East Anglia, the lead author of the study Dr Jeremy Clark said that if this test is made available in the market, men would not have to undergo a digital rectal examination every six to 12 months. Since the test can be uncomfortable, a lot of men prefer not to get it. Getting screened for prostate cancer through a urine sample would be much less stressful and should result in a lot more patients being tested.
Need for early detection of aggressive prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is called the disease of the elderly - over 60% of cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. Though it is rare to get prostate cancer before you turn 55, early-onset prostate cancer cases have been noted, especially in cases where the person had a family history of the disease.
Most men won’t need treatment for localised prostate cancer in their lifetime since it spreads slowly and gradually and the survival rate for it is 100%. Aggressive prostate cancer, on the other hand, has a tendency to spread quickly to nearby tissues and is more difficult to manage. If cancer spreads, the survival rate drops to 30% and treatment becomes important.
Interestingly, younger men are more likely to get an aggressive form of prostate cancer than older men. So, it is important to know what stage the cancer is in and if it is aggressive.
The research is based on the fact that the prostate gland in men keeps on releasing its secretions into the urine throughout the day. If there is a tumour or cancer in the gland, these secretions would have specific biomolecules which would then show up in the person’s urine.
However, Dr Clark and his team noted that the urine samples collected in a lab are usually variable and hence do not always provide accurate results. It was hypothesised that most men may have urinated before coming to the doctor’s clinic, thus reducing the number of prostate cancer biomarkers in the urine sample collected at the lab. On the other hand, early morning or the first urine of the day is the most concentrated and would hence provide the best results.
A rectal exam would only be needed if someone gets a positive result on this test and a negative test would mean that you would have to visit the doctor less frequently - once in two to three years.
Additionally, a positive result would help make surveillance of people with low-risk prostate cancer easier.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Prostate Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment.
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Updated Date: Dec 03, 2019 16:04:55 IST
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