Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator offers men ‘individual risk assessment’

Fri, 18 May 2012

Men worried about prostate cancer have a new online resource, freely available, to help them assess their risk. The multi-step Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator, launched yesterday, 17 May 2012, has been created by the founders of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC).

Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator is easy and simple for people to use. Men can use the first two calculators to assess their individual risk of developing prostate cancer without needing any medical expertise. The first starts with family history and general health information. The second is for use if you also have the results of a simple blood test to assess the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA). Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men but recent improvements in treatment and diagnosis mean that more men will survive the disease.The online resource provides a range of helpful information about the disease. This includes the benefits and disadvantages of going for a PSA test when you do not have symptoms. PSA levels tend to increase as men age and can be a sign of prostate disease, though not always cancer.

Specialist clinical risk assessment tools

Five risk calculators have been created for clinicians to use as part of their clinical practice. They are based on robust evidence gained from research carried out by the ERSPC, the world’s largest study into screening for prostate cancer. They calculate whether clinicians can avoid subjecting men to additional, and invasive, diagnostics tests such as biopsy; or if they can safely be monitored on a more conservative Active Surveillance programme. An additional feature calculates a patient’s risk of having an aggressive form of cancer; and this further helps to decide if a biopsy is needed.

Dr Monique Roobol, associate professor at Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, and one of the creators of the Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator, said: “The dilemma for a doctor is to find out if the patient has prostate cancer and usually involves invasive testing and possibly a biopsy, which can affect a man’s quality of life.

“Our seven prostate cancer risk calculators help to build up a picture which enables a clinician to predict the presence of cancer before a biopsy is taken. If cancer is indicated, the risk assessment then helps decide if it is potentially aggressive and life threatening or if it is safe to treat it conservatively. The first two calculators are designed to help men take the first steps in assessing their risk.”

*The Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator is the property of the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation, Rotterdam (SWOP). For details on board members please refer here.