Prostate cancer testing demand rises following famous guitarist's diagnosis

After Duran Duran’s guitar legend Andy Taylor announced his battle with prostate cancer, more patients have recently been seeking early diagnosis of the disease, the most common malignancy among men

 Micrograph of prostate cancer with Gleason score 6 (3+3) (photo credit: Diagnostic Pathology 11/Jennifer Gordetsky and Jonathan Epstein)
Micrograph of prostate cancer with Gleason score 6 (3+3)
(photo credit: Diagnostic Pathology 11/Jennifer Gordetsky and Jonathan Epstein)

In November, Duran Duran’s guitar legend Andy Taylor announced at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony that for the last four years he has been battling stage-4 prostate cancer.

Since then, there has been a 135% increase among Israeli men for blood tests to detect the malignancy. The English performer is 61.

Thanks to media exposure and increased awareness, more patients in Israel have recently been seeking an early and accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer, the most common malignancy among men in Israel and the world.

In October, a new blood test for prostate cancer called IsoPSA was launched to the general public in Israel. November was marked as International Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) and the Living with Prostate Cancer Association.

In addition, the Israeli Urologists Association held its annual meeting in Eilat last month where an international study was presented that demonstrated a high level of accuracy in predicting aggressive prostate cancer using the new blood test.

prostate 224.88 (credit: Courtesy)prostate 224.88 (credit: Courtesy)

New test allows men 50 and over to avoid an unnecessary invasive biopsy

IsoPSA, which makes it possible to assess the risk of the presence of aggressive prostate cancer with a very high level of accuracy, was recently approved by the Health Ministry.

Developed by the American biotechnology company Cleveland Diagnostics, it allows most patients to avoid an unnecessary invasive biopsy, which is actually a small operation for everything under full anesthesia. An older test, PSA (prostate specific antigen) is no longer recommended as a screening tool for the malignancy.

“Thanks to increased awareness in recent months, more patients with suspected prostate cancer are getting themselves tested.”

Prof. Ofer Nativ

The new test is intended for men 50 and over with PSA values above four in a regular examination and a referral from a urologist.

Prof. Ofer Nativ, an expert in urological surgery and a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, explained that, “Thanks to increased awareness in recent months, more patients with suspected prostate cancer are getting themselves tested.”

Now the doctors can diagnose early and accurately predict much more aggressive prostate cancer and save patients from complex and painful operations such as biopsies or MRI tests, he continued. “I recommend to anyone who has a high PSA level and his urologist thinks it’s worth doing a biopsy to consult about the possibility of the IsoPSA blood test.

“It has proven accuracy and reliability in clinical studies, and based on its results, we send for a biopsy only those who received a positive answer regarding the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.”

According to the World Health Organization, every year about 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide, and about 375,000 die from the disease. According to the Health Ministry and the ICA, About 2,600 new patients are diagnosed in Israel and 500 men die of the disease every year.

A study on the efficacy of the new test was published in September 2022 in the journal Urologic Oncology under the title “Clinical validation of IsoPSA, a single parameter, structure-focused assay for improved detection of prostate cancer: A prospective, multicenter study.”