Most men with prostate cancer would rather find out sooner than later if they have the disease. At present, men are tested for prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen test. But since PSA levels normally go up and down over time, it's hard for doctors to know what a high reading is and what may just be normal for any particular man. Hence men with higher levels have to undergo repeated biopsies to determine whether they have cancer or not.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh hopes to make the PSA test a thing of the past with a new test called EPCA. The protein shows up at the very earliest stages of cancer. The test has already shown success in a laboratory study, and now researchers are getting ready to see how it works in patients. Researchers say ,by testing for EPCA in men with high levels of PSA, they feel that they may be able to detect the presence of prostate cancer earlier, before it is discoverable by biopsy, thus saving patients the fear and stress of repeat procedures and enabling us to treat the disease sooner.