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10-minute cancer indicator unveiled

Men worried about prostate cancer now have the option of going for a lunch-hour fingerprick test to check for the disease.

The new blood test can assess a man's level of the cancer marker prostate specific antigen (PSA) in just 10 minutes.

Usually men have to wait several days for the results of a PSA test, causing inconvenience and worry.

Raised PSA does not necessarily signify prostate cancer but may suggest the need for further investigation.

Measuring PSA level also provides a vital way of monitoring the progress of prostate cancer in diagnosed patients.

PSA is a protein that leaks out of the prostate gland when it is damaged.

The new test from MediWatch, called PSAWatch, needs only a small dropof blood from a fingerprick which is then analysed using a portablemachine.

Conventional tests require a syringe full of blood which has to be sent to a laboratory.

Dr Tim Larner, consultant urologist at Brighton and Sussex UniversityHospitals NHS Trust, said: "This test will be invaluable for patientswho have active surveillance of their PSA levels or for patients whoneed regular monitoring of disease progression or success of treatment.For these patients, any delay can cause extreme anxiety and unnecessarydistress."

The test, which costs around £40, is being made available throughout the UK but is not yet available on the NHS.

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Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust