Jan. 23 (UPI) -- PSA screenings have reduced prostate cancer deaths by about 30 percent, according to a new study.
The research, published this month by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, pushes back against a recommendation from Swedish officials that health services should not provide screening with PSA testing by itself due to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer.
The study revealed that more than three-quarters of all cancer cases reviewed by researchers could have been detected, and some deaths may have been prevented "if less than half of all men in the cohort had been offered additional testing or diagnostics," researchers wrote.
PSA screening cuts deaths from prostate cancer by some 30 percent. This research was based on data of 20,000 men monitored for more than two decades. The men's initially measured PSA levels proved highly significant as a predictor of future cancer risk.
Men whose screenings began after age 60 had the highest risk of dying from prostate cancer, along with more over 70 who were diagnosed after the study and men who didn't accept invitations to the receive screenings.
The study began in 1995, with 20,000 men between ages 50 and 64. About 10,00 were offered PSA screenings and 10,000 weren't.
A follow up showed that roughly 300 died of prostate cancer 22 years later, making it the longest follow-up period of any prostate cancer screening study around the world, according to the researchers.
Worldwide, prostate cancer the second most common form of cancer in men and fourth most common overall, according to the World Cancer Research Fund. More than 1.3 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, the organization reports.
PSA results from the first screening occasion have shown to be a good predictor to estimate future cancer risk.
"This research is important, because it shows the long-term effects of an organized screening program in Sweden," Maria Franlund, researcher in Urology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, said in a news release.
The researchers say they will now use data from the study to highlight the importance of PSA screenings and how to create a potential cancer screening in the future.