The emergence of a new model developed by Cambridge University scientists could be the beginning of the end to the alarming death records from prostate cancer, as the new test has got potentials to give accurate prognosis for patients.
This is nothing but a good tiding to all prostate cancer sufferers, as the researchers have assured that they will get better treatments, than those provided by existing models.
The model, as reported on Mail Online – takes information doctors already receive about cancer patients and uses it to put them into one of five groups in order of severity.
Patients can then be given more aggressive treatments if they are at one end of the spectrum or avoid unnecessary treatment altogether if they are at the other.
Currently patients are categorised into three groups on diagnosis – low, intermediate and high risk.
But these ‘broad’ categories meant patients do not always get the right treatment – with those in the intermediate group most likely to receive unpleasant procedure they did not need.
The lead researcher, Vincent Gnanapragasam, who led the research based on 10,000 British men, said the new system meant those ‘in the middle’ would get better treatments that were most suitable for their illness.
He said that the current system was only around 60 per cent accurate in predicting whether or not cancer patients would die, whereas the new system was between 70 and 80 per cent accurate.
He added: ‘There is a lot of variety within the cancer itself. Trying to categorise men into just three groups is very difficult.
‘You might be in a particular group but your outcomes and the decisions needed on whether to be treated or not treated could be very different (from others in that group).
‘The new model identifies who will do better from treatment and who will not. We want to avoid both under-treatment and over-treatment.’
Under the new system, medics can categorise patients using information from existing tests for levels of certain chemicals in the body, the stage of the disease and information from biopsies on the type of tumour.
The previous ‘intermediate’ and ‘high’ risk groups have been split into two, so that doctors can tell which patients in the intermediate stage would benefit from treatment and which would not.
It also means doctors will know whether to offer those in the highest risk group aggressive treatment or whether it is better to improve the patient’s quality of life during their final days.
The current system which is used to categorise prostate cancer patients for treatment is based on 20-year-old research from the US.
‘In the US they have a different type of population than the UK and more screening for cancer, so it is important that our research is the first to be based on British men,’ he added.