Version 2.0 of Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator now online, complete with emojis

August 4, 2014

A calculator to help men and their doctors assess their risk of prostate cancer, developed at the UT Health Science Center, has had a major upgrade to enhance how men and their physicians better understand a man's risk of prostate cancer. A description of the update's needs and benefits is described by the Health Science Center authors in a viewpoint published online Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The has been updated using current risk factors and a better interface; the current version gives a more nuanced result that helps understand a man's risk of prostate cancer," said Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center, who helped develop the and co-authored a commentary published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The free calculator on the Health Science Center website takes just minutes to use and gives a man more information about his risk for both low-grade prostate cancer, which may never require treatment, and high-grade prostate cancer. It provides an "emoji" graphic readout that puts the numeric percentages into a visual perspective. Significantly, it also gives the possibility in numbers (and emojis) that he may have no prostate cancer at all.

"What is important are the three numbers," Dr. Thompson said. "For doctors, it makes for a more challenging conversation with the patient. For the patient, it gives him better information so he can decide how he wants to move forward."

The primary purpose of assessing risk is detection of high-grade, high risk cancers. "The prostate cancers you want to find are the high-grade cancers," Dr. Thompson said, "because then we can take action to prolong and even save a man's life."

"On the other hand, in some men, a prostate biopsy will far more commonly find a low-grade cancer. These cancers have such a low risk that many men who take the time to fully understand the options, decide to simply monitor them", says Dr. Thompson. "For many men who have been diagnosed with these low-risk cancers, they wish they'd known about that before they had a prostate biopsy; many, in retrospect wish they'd not had a biopsy in the first place. This new risk calculator helps them understand that risk in advance."

The risk calculator is based on data from the 18,882-man National Cancer Institute's Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), a national multi-site study of which Dr. Thompson was original principal investigator. The first risk calculator was made available in 2006, but Dr. Thompson said as screening and treatment affects more and more of the population, it changes the risk factors that affect the calculations. The CTRC scientific team has continued to update the calculator since 2006.

"The new calculator should provide a more accurate prediction of the outcome that a man would expect on biopsy because it incorporates a substantially larger amount of patient data than the original calculator," said Donna Ankerst, Ph.D., research professor of urology at the Health Science Center and professor of mathematics at the Technical University in Munich, who helped develop the calculator. "It also uses an advanced statistical model to distinguish the prediction of low-grade and high-grade disease."

Along with building on the knowledge that continues to come from data in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, the new calculator also incorporates data from a separate study conducted by Dr. Thompson. That study, called San Antonio Center of Biomarkers Of Risk for Prostate Cancer (SABOR) gave the researchers a new biomarker called percent-free PSA.

"Step by step, we are assembling the tools to help men work with their doctors to make better-informed decisions about their treatment," Dr. Thompson said. "And, as steps go, this is a big one."

Explore further: Finasteride saves men from prostate cancer, doesn't increase risk of death

More information: www.ctrc.net/

Related Stories

Finasteride saves men from prostate cancer, doesn't increase risk of death

August 14, 2013
A long-term follow-up to a groundbreaking study led by the director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center confirms that a drug shown to reduce risk of prostate cancer by more than a third has no impact on lifespan but further ...

Vasectomy may increase risk of aggressive prostate cancer

July 9, 2014
Vasectomy was associated with a small increased risk of prostate cancer, and a stronger risk for advanced or lethal prostate cancer according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The researchers found ...

New approach to prostate cancer screening needed, expert says

March 7, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The UK needs to invest in testing for those men most at risk of prostate cancer rather than follow a cast-the-net-wide approach targeting the whole population, a leading scientist from The University of ...

Study finds prostate cancer tests underestimate disease in half of cases

April 11, 2014
A study published in the British Journal of Cancer suggests that tests to grade and stage prostate cancer underestimated the severity of the disease in half of men whose cancers had been classified as 'slow growing'.

Low testosterone levels may indicate worsening of disease for men with prostate cancer

May 5, 2014
For men with low-risk prostate cancer, low levels of testosterone may indicate a worsening of their disease. That's the conclusion of a new study published in BJU International. The findings may help physicians identify patients ...

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

April 18, 2014
Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...

Recommended for you

Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography

August 21, 2017
When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates. A new study compares the number of deaths that might be prevented as a result ...

Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die

August 17, 2017
Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone ...

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.