To evaluate the effectiveness of a well-controlled programme of early detection and treatment of prostate cancer in the population of Tyrol, Austria, where such a programme of early detection and treatment was initiated in 1988 and where prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing was offered for free to all men aged 45–75 years from 1993.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
Comparison of prostate cancer mortality rates in Tyrol and the rest of Austria was accomplished through a generalized additive model. A piecewise linear change-point Poisson regression model was used to compare mortality rates in Tyrol and the rest of Austria. Standardized mortality ratios were calculated with reference to the mortality rates in 1986–1990.
In all, 86.6% of eligible men have been tested at least once since 1993. Cancer deaths in Tyrol in 2005 were 54% (95% confidence interval [CI] 34–69%) lower than expected compared with 29% (95% CI 22–35%) in the rest of Austria. The decreasing trend in prostate cancer mortality was significantly greater in Tyrol compared with the rest of Austria (P = 0.001). A significant migration to lower stage disease occurred and radical prostatectomy was associated with low morbidity.
In the Tyrol region where treatment is freely available to all patients, where widespread PSA testing and treatment with curative intent occurs, there was a reduction in prostate cancer mortality rates which was significantly greater than the reduction in the rest of Austria. This reduction in prostate cancer mortality is most probably due to early detection, consequent down-staging and effective treatment of prostate cancer.