A new pilot study concludes that at-home urine tests could make prostate cancer diagnoses shorter, simpler, and possibly even more accurate.
Prostate cancer is common, affecting nearly half of males over 50. However, it tends to develop slowly, and in many cases, health professionals do not consider it clinically significant. In other words, it is not likely to shorten the male’s life.
This poses a real problem for medical professionals, as it becomes difficult to know who to treat and when. On the one hand, it is important not to begin treatment if someone does not need it, but on the other hand, they must make sure that someone who is likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer receives the best care.
Currently, the two most common diagnostic tools are digital rectal exams and blood tests for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Although PSA is useful, there are issues.
For this reason and others, researchers are investigating other ways of testing for prostate cancer, and some are looking to urine.
As fluid moves from the prostate through the urethra, it carries cancer cells and RNA with it. Once the body has passed this genetic and cellular information out in the urine, scientists can use it to detect clues about the presence of prostate cancer.
These tests are called prostate urine risk (PUR) tests, and studies have demonstrated that they can help predict whether or not prostate cancer will become aggressive.