Approximately 10,000 men in Sweden are diagnosed with prostate cancer yearly, with about 2,500 losing their lives to this disease. Due to the highest death rates, it is the most prevalent and deadliest cancer type in the nation. Researchers face the dual challenge of finding methods to prevent the illness and developing secure diagnostic techniques.
Organized Prostate Cancer Testing (OPT) is a recent initiative in Sweden that seeks to identify prostate cancer at an early stage. OPT projects were launched in multiple regions in 2020, including Region Skåne, Västra Götaland Region, and Västerbotten Region. In 2022, Region Stockholm and Region Gotland started a joint organized project, offering OPT annually. By the end of 2023, 17 of Sweden’s 21 regions will have implemented some OPT projects.
From national screening to OPT
In 2018, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) rejected the idea of national screening for prostate cancer using only PSA tests, citing concerns about overdiagnosis. In response, various initiatives were launched to provide organized testing options in the country.
After substantial collaboration among researchers and experts in urology, communications, and IT, Region Skåne introduced Organised Prostate Cancer Testing (OPT) in 2020. OPT is a fully digitalized system that streamlines the testing process.
The OPT process
OPT began with a pilot program that invited 1,000 men aged 50, 56, and 62 for testing. Those who accepted the invitation received their test results automatically. Based on the PSA level and the individual's age, an examination algorithm determines the necessary follow-up, including further testing, surveillance, or treatment.
Addressing Overdiagnosis Concerns
The Swedish Board of Health and Welfare rejected the national screening based on concerns about overdiagnosis. However, proponents of OPT, like Anders Bjartell, stress that they prioritize patient well-being and avoid unnecessary treatment for low-risk cases.
What is the Stockholm 3 test for prostate cancer?
The Stockholm3 test, also known as the Stockholm3 (STHLM3) model, is a diagnostic tool used for the early detection of prostate cancer. This test is designed to improve the accuracy of prostate cancer screening by combining multiple biomarkers such as protein markers, genetic markers, and clinical data to detect prostate cancer that necessitates early treatment.
It was developed in Sweden and is used to assess an individual's risk of having aggressive prostate cancer.
Who is eligible for Prostate cancer testing?
Prostate cancer testing is primarily suitable for men of age groups 50 to 70.
What is included in OPT?
The early detection of prostate cancer involves a testing process that may consist of up to three stages.
The first stage is a PSA test that requires a blood sample. A magnetic camera examination is performed in the second stage if the PSA value is high.
If any abnormalities during the magnetic camera examination are detected, the third is conducting tissue sampling.
Based on their test results participants are monitored at various annual intervals.
Are there any costs associated with OPT examinations?
The respective regions determine the fees for a PSA test within the OPT framework.
Is there a genetic test for prostate cancer?
In addition to the PSA test, genetic testing can be used to evaluate an individual's risk of developing prostate cancer. This testing examines specific genes that are linked to a higher likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
Genetic testing results can help individuals make informed decisions about their prostate cancer screening and management choices.
At Eiira, both Classic and Premium genetic profiling services include genetic testing to detect hereditary risks for prostate cancer.
In conclusion, OPT represents a significant step forward in prostate cancer care in Sweden. This organized testing approach ensures broader access to early detection, using digitalization and AI to enhance efficiency. By addressing concerns about overdiagnosis and focusing on patient education, OPT is working toward improving the outcomes and experiences of men facing prostate cancer in Sweden.