A new diagnostic test developed by scientists may help allow men to bypass painful biopsies to test for aggressive prostate cancer.
The test uses unique nanotechnology to make the diagnostic using only a single drop of blood, and has the potential to produce more accurate results than current screening methods.
However, urologist and sexual health expert Dr Shingai Mutambirwa explains that the test is still in trial phases.
Dr Shingai says that biomarkers look at genetic predisposition, prognosis assessments and predictive indicators.
Testing for prostate cancer generally involves a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a test for prostate- specific antigen (PSA) levels.
The PSA tests can often lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment, even in cases when some cancers are not harmful, Dr Shingai explains.
Most of them [cancers] don't have to have active treatment. There are significant side-effects to active treatment.— Dr Shingai Mutambirwa, urologist and sexual health expert
He advises that the active surveillance and treatment of prostate cancer can have urinary and sexual side-effects.
The development of new and improved tests could help avoid this.
At the same time, Dr Shingai says that it is important for men to get their prostates checked at least once a year, particularly after the age of 40.
Take a listen to the doctor share his expert advice and field questions from callers: