New test may better diagnose prostate cancer

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A new test for prostate cancer may improve diagnosis.

Researchers found testing semen molecules could be a more accurate way to detect the cancer and its severity.

Doctors currently use a blood test, the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, to diagnose prostate cancer. However, researchers found the PSA test is not highly specific for the cancer, often leading to over diagnosis and treatment.

Doctors call the new semen test a promising development but are not using it in clinical tests yet.

Raul Blasini, a Pocahontas prostate cancer survivor, said doctors need more accurate tests. Prostate cancer is about 99 percent curable if found in time.

Blasini said cancer never crossed his mind until he went to a regular checkup 17 years ago.

"I never though about that!," Blasini said. "It's scary. I mean forty-four years old. That's a young man. Prostate cancer. Your manhood is gone."

Soon after the diagnosis, Blasini had surgery to remove his prostate.

"I didn't need to do radiation or chemotherapy," Blasini said. "They removed the cancer."

Blasini's doctors called him one of the lucky ones. This only happens to about five percent of prostate cancer patients. The other 95 percent go through more treatment and surgeries. 

"I know a lot of those people," Blasini said.

Seventeen years later and cancer free, Blasini has dedicated his life to educating Region 8 men about prostate cancer, a subject he has found men just do not like talking about it.

"We have a ways to go, but we've opened a lot of doors," Blasini said.

Blasini said his goal is to help men feel as comfortable talking about prostate cancer as women do about breast cancer.  

"Before, I would say 'breast' and they [women] would slap you," Blasini said. "Now, you say 'breast' and they're like, 'Oh yeah, I have one here.' It's funny because of the change. And that's my goal. To continue to educate men and show them it's not a big deal to talk about prostate cancer."

For the past 13 years, Blasini has held screenings in Pocahontas with the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation. Fourteen men have been diagnosed. 

"And they're still in Pocahontas walking around," Blasini said. "They found the cancer in time. It's great. It's a good feeling."

Blasini said the best way for men to protect themselves is education.

"It will save your life," Blasini said. "Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to come and have a checkup."

According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer will kill more than 29,000 patients this year.

The Mayo Clinic recommends men between the ages of 40 and 75 and men with an increased risk of prostate cancer to get screened. 

Blasini holds support group meetings every first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Northeast Arkansas Center on Aging in Jonesboro, 303 East Matthews.

For more information, visit the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation website or contact Blasini at

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