Furthering the prostate cancer screening debate (prostate cancer specific mortality and associated risks).

Contributors: Bryan Donnelly, MD, MSc, FRCSC, Dean Ruether, MD FRCSC, Michael Chetner, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, Peter Venner, MD, FRCPC
Can Urol Assoc J. 2011 Dec;5(6):416-21. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.11063.


Screening for prostate cancer remains a contentious issue. As with other cancer screening programs, a key feature of the debate is verification of cancerspecific mortality reductions. Unfortunately the present evidence, two systematic reviews and six randomized controlled trials, have reported conflicting results. Furthermore, half of the studies are poor quality and the evidence is clouded by key weaknesses, including poor adherence to screening in the intervention arm or high rates of screening in the control arm. In high quality studies of prostate cancer screening (particularly prostatespecific antigen), in which actual compliance was anticipated in the study design, there is good evidence that prostate cancer mortality is reduced. The numbers needed to screen are at least as good as those of mammography for breast cancer and fecal occult blood testing for colorectal cancer. However, the risks associated with prostate cancer screening are considerable and must be weighed against the advantage of reduced cancerspecific mortality. Adverse events include 70% rate of false positives, important risks associated with prostate biopsy, and the serious consequences of prostate cancer treatment. The best evidence demonstrates prostate cancer screening will reduce prostate cancer mortality. It is time for the debate to move beyond this issue, and begin a well-informed discussion on the remaining complex issues associated with prostate cancer screening and appropriate management.



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Congratulations to first place winner Doug Brown!

Congratulations to PhD grad student Doug Brown for his First Place win at the 2018 University of Alberta Student Falling Walls Lab Competition! Doug’s First Place award also gains him an entry and an all-expenses-paid trip to the highly competitive and prestigious Falling Walls Lab Conference in Berlin, November 8-9, 2018!

Fifteen student presenters pitched their innovative and globally-important research ideas in a short 3 minute presentation to a panel of science and tech-business savvy judges and a large cheering audience on September 19, 2018, at the University of Alberta in a high-stakes “TEDTalk” meets “Dragon’s Den” style. The competition was very strong but Doug gave an inspired speech on breaking down the walls of metastatic cancers using new lipid nanoparticle technology that he is helping to develop during his graduate studies in Dr. John Lewis’ laboratory.

The Sept 19th UofA Falling Walls Lab competition will be featured on Global News on the evening of Sept. 20th, around 6:15 pm. Check it out!

Doug will be taking his pitch to the Falling Walls Lab competition in Berlin, Germany this November where he will compete with many other inspirational students at this international event.

This is doubly exciting for the Lewis lab because John Lewis recently won the UofA Falling Walls Venture competition that was held on Aug 29, 2018 and he will be competing in the Berlin Falling Walls Venture!

Good luck to both Doug and John at the Falling Walls Finale in Berlin!

- Perrin Beatty