The Particulars: It has been hypothesized that greater use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing to detect prostate cancer early has led to higher incidence rates of the disease over the last 20 years. Data to confirm or deny this phenomenon are lacking.

Data Breakdown: For a study, researchers compared the relative and absolute rates of detecting early and advanced prostate cancer in men younger than 50. They then examined if early prostate cancer detection was the only contributor to incidence changes. From 2000 to 2010, the incidence rates of prostate cancer increased significantly in men younger than 50 from all races included in the study. However, the incidence of advanced prostate cancer escalated in parallel with early stages of the disease.

Take Home Pearls: Although incidence rates of prostate cancer appear to have increased significantly in the last decade, the increase does not appear to be fully explained by the use of PSA screening. Unknown epigenetic, environmental, or socioeconomic factors may play a role in the increased incidence rates.