STOCKHOLM, Sweden, April 4 (UPI) -- A 20-year-long study found screening for prostate cancer does not significantly reduce prostate cancer deaths, researchers in Sweden say.
Study author Dr. Gabriel Sandblom, an associate professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said the findings are based on a study started in Sweden in 1987 involving 9,026 men ages 50-69.
Of this group, 1,494 men were randomly selected for screening every third year from 1987 to 1996 and the remaining 7,532 men acted as controls, Sandblom said.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found 5.7 percent of prostate cancer diagnosed in the screened group (85 cases) and 3.9 percent (292 cases) in the control group. The tumors in the group screened were smaller and more often localized than in the control group.
However, the analysis did not show significantly longer survival or overall survival for men with prostate cancer in the group who got screened, compared with the control group, Sandblom said.
"After 20 years of follow-up, the rate of death from prostate cancer did not differ significantly between men in the screening group and those in the control group," the researchers said.
Prostate screening and treating men with detected tumors might reduce deaths specifically from prostate cancer by as much as one-third, but this involves over detection and unpleasant or harmful overtreatment, the study said.