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Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man's prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. Prostate cancer that is detected early — when it's still confined to the prostate gland — has a better chance of successful treatment. One of the biggest and prevalent issues with prostate cancer is the rates of sensitivity and specificity. Sensitivity and specificity measure the number of false positives and false negatives, and are useful in evaluating the effectiveness of screening methods. Sensitivity is the number of true positive results divided by the sum of the true positive results and false negative results. Specificity is the number of true negative results divided by the sum of the true negative results and false positive results. The article explains that the PSA test and Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) are the most widely used forms of prostate cancer screening. The PSA test is simply a blood test. Even though the PSA is widely available to the general population it’s the sensitivity is 34.9% and the specificity is 63.1% which is not good at all. The DRE test is available by appointment in a doctor's office; there is discomfort for the patient and a risk of slight bleeding. The sensitivity is 27.1% and the specificity is 49.0%, which is worse than the PSA test. To help ensure that the readings will be more reliable most doctors use the two tests together, the sensitivity remains low at 38.0%, and the specificity is 87.9%. Next the article talk about future tests and methods, it says that serum proteomics is a promising screening strategy to detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages using MALDI, which stands for Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization and it is used as a superior method of mass spectrometry analysis by increasing ease and sensitivity of spectrometer usage, to produce a spectrum of protein patterns, later analyzed with current databases for diagnosis. As the article continues it talks about the different aspects that are used to determine the effectiveness of the method. It says that the primary components of effectiveness used in a study consist of sensitivity and specificity, availability, side effects, ease of use, and cost. Based on the issues of the problem, sensitivity and specificity were awarded the most attention and considered of substantial importance in the appraisal of tests both currently used and those in development. In the results portion of the article, it is stated that serum proteomics will provide the most promising results in terms of increasing sensitivity without sacrificing specificity. By observing the entire proteome, serum proteomics increases its sensitivity and specificity from testing that focuses on a single biomarker, such as future urine testing that concentrates specifically on the PCA3 gene, a gene over expressed in prostate cancer tissue by a factor of approximately 34. In conclusion the article states that serum proteomics is an invaluable testing method for prostate cancer that satisfies every category of effectiveness methods; with sensitivity and specificity values extend beyond 90%. Lastly it touches upon the idea of it being compared to the current testing methods of PSA and DRE which combined reach a sensitivity and specificity of 61.6% and 11.7%. Therefore, the serum proteomics testing methods are better and more effective than the current PSA and DRE testing methods.

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