prostate cancer -

January 20, 2010 12:26 ET

Robotic Prostatectomy Expert and Oncologist Dr. David B. Samadi, MD Discusses the Importance of the PSA Test for Prostate Cancer Detection

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - January 20, 2010) - On the heels of the cancer screening controversy by the American Cancer Society (ACS), Dr. Samadi, Chief of the Division of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery in the Department of Urology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, continues to stress the importance of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings.

The ACS suggested that detection of early stage disease nearly doubled for breast and prostate cancers over the last 20 years, but this early detection did not result in more patients being cured. While the ACS indicated that the advantages of screening guidelines might have been exaggerated due to the fact that current cancer screening methods are not perfect, subsequent clarification stated that screening should continue to be done. Recently, the American Urological Association lowered its recommended PSA screening age from 50 to 40.

Dr. Samadi wholeheartedly supports this suggestion, and continues to stress the importance of prostate cancer screening, particularly in men who have known risk factors. He believes the bottom line is men need to work with their doctors to make an informed decision about prostate cancer screening and treatment. "PSA screening is still one of the most effective tools in fighting prostate cancer," asserted Samadi, who has successfully performed over 2,100 robotic prostatectomies in his practice.

Cancer grows at different rates, but Dr. Samadi believes that a diagnosis of prostate cancer is not necessarily a death sentence if caught early enough. "Combined with early detection, patients can expect a cure rate of over 95 percent," said Samadi. He maintains that there have been definitive decreases in advanced-stage cancers and age-specific prostate cancer mortality rate in the "PSA screening era."

Studies have shown that the monitoring of PSA fluctuations is crucial for tracking the occurrence and rate of prostate cancer. A rise in PSA level of 0.25 in one year is definitely something to research further. Cancer cells tend to attach themselves to blood proteins, while enlarged but noncancerous prostates typically release "free" PSA throughout the body. Understanding the ratio of the types of PSA can help doctors determine the next course of action.

High PSA levels in young men are a definite cause for concern, and should prompt further monitoring of PSA velocity. Treatment is most effective, with fewer side effects, when the cancer is detected early because the disease is organ-confined and has not spread outside of the gland. Post-surgical tests are equally as important because any change in levels can indicate a cancer recurrence. Understandably, this is precisely the reason why Dr. Samadi advocates prostate surgery because it is only by removing the prostate that the cancer range, stage and rate can be fully ascertained.

Dr. Samadi, a renowned oncologist who is also an expert in open, laparoscopic and robotic surgery, does not rely on the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test alone in making a diagnosis of cancer and prescribing treatment. He uses a combination of markers, including digital rectal exams (DRE) and Gleason scores. Samadi believes that until science comes up with a "biomarker" superior to the PSA, the combination of testing is the most ideal way to detect prostate cancer. The PSA as a standalone test, however, remains the best diagnostic tool for the disease.

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