The number of new U.S. cases of metastatic prostate cancer increased by 72% from 2004–2013, according to a new study published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.

Researchers analyzed information from 767,550 men in the National Cancer Data Base who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2013. Men aged 55–69 years saw the highest increase (92%), which the authors said was particularly concerning because men in that age group should benefit the most from prostate cancer screening and early treatment. Additionally, the average prostate-specific antigen for men nearly doubled, jumping from 25 in 2004 to 49 in 2013. 

Although recent guideline updates have encouraged reduced screening for prostate cancer, the authors advocate for the opposite. They noted that patients who have aggressive prostate cancer that is found while still localized can receive curative treatment, but for those whose cancer is diagnosed at metastatic stages can only slow disease progression. However, the study did find that metastatic disease began increasing in 2008, before the changes in screening recommendations.

The researchers encouraged providers to recommend screening guidelines and treatment based on individual patient risk factors and genetics. They are conducting additional studies to identify the factors behind the increase.