Checking For Psa At Home
Itâs best to look for prostate symptoms and then screen using a Prostate Specific Antigen blood test. While there is no physical way for you to check for prostate cancer at home, there are at-home screening options for PSA. imawareâ¢ at-home test for PSA can help screen you for prostate issues.
What Is The Prostate
The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis, found only in men.
About the size of a satsuma, it’s located between the penis and the bladder, and surrounds the urethra.
The main function of the prostate is to produce a thick white fluid that creates semen when mixed with the sperm produced by the testicles.
What Are The Symptoms Of Enlarged Prostate
When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can block the urethra and impair bladder function. Symptoms that may indicate this is happening include:
- Urinating many times a day and being unable to hold off urination
- Problems starting a urine stream or a weak or interrupted stream, followed by dribbling at the end
- Waking at night to urinate and accidental loss of urine
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What If I Am Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
Many people have been where you are standing. Dont lose hope. More than 2.9 million American men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are alive today.
The first thing you should consider doing is to find out about the specifics of your cancer. You should know your stage and grade .
From there you can find out what treatment options you want to pursue, if any. Talk to your doctors. Choose a healthcare team of different specialists, or consult a second opinion. You can also do your own research, or talk to men who have been in your position. Many of our advocates are patients and survivors hear their stories at the video library. Or head to the rest of our website to start some research.
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- The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ that produces fluids to feed and protect sperm cells.
- Many men experience urinary changes as they age. In many cases, these changes do not need specific treatment.
- When urinary changes cause problems, they can be treated successfully by lifestyle changes, medication, surgery or a combination of the three.
- For problems such as blood in the urine, pain on urination, inability to urinate or uncontrollable urine flow, see your doctor promptly.
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How To Check For Prostate Cancer At Home
Medically Reviewed by: Dr. BautistaUpdated on: November 18, 2019
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men, but the good news is its also one of the most successfully treated through both conventional and holistic prostate cancer treatment. Prostate cancer develops in the walnut-shaped gland that is responsible for producing semen and transporting sperm. Many men, and some women, question, can prostate cancer spread?. Although its not always the case, this type of cancer is typically slow-growing. It lingers in the prostate gland without spreading or causing major damage.
However, if prostate cancer is left untreated, it will eventually destroy the prostate and spread to local and distant organs. The best thing you can do is be proactive, take control of your health, and be familiar with any changes going on in your body. With that said, regular checkups are important, but you can also do this yourself. If youre wondering how to check for prostate cancer at home, the best thing you can do is know what symptoms to look for, and stay knowledgeable about what the four stages of prostate cancer are.
Need For This Guidance
New Zealand men currently receive conflicting advice about prostate cancer testing and treatment. Some men may benefit from early diagnosis and treatment, but have limited opportunity to access appropriate health services.
Unlike other cancers, prostate cancer often grows slowly. With routine prostate specific antigen testing, many men can be diagnosed with a cancer that is not going to progress during their lifetime. Such a diagnosis may increase mens exposure to unnecessary treatment-related harms.
On the other hand, some men will still develop aggressive and potentially life-threatening prostate cancer. These men may benefit from prompt diagnosis and treatment.
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Lymph Node Biopsy As A Separate Procedure
A lymph node biopsy is rarely done as a separate procedure. Its sometimes used when a radical prostatectomy isnt planned , but when its still important to know if the lymph nodes contain cancer.
Most often, this is done as a needle biopsy. To do this, the doctor uses an image to guide a long, hollow needle through the skin in the lower abdomen and into an enlarged node. The skin is numbed with local anesthesia before the needle is inserted to take a small tissue sample. The sample is then sent to the lab and looked at for cancer cells.
What Are Additional Tests For Detecting Prostate Problems
If the DRE or the PSA blood test indicates a problem may exist, the health care provider may order additional tests, including urinalysis, urodynamic tests, cystoscopy, abdominal ultrasound, transrectal ultrasound with prostate biopsy, and imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography scan.
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How To Check Prostate Cancer
When youre checking for prostate cancer, its important to know the symptoms. When youre aware of the signs, prostate cancer can be caught early. Because prostate cancer doesnt typically show signs early on, this particular cancer is typically found through PSA blood test or digital rectal exams.
But, there are typically five major warning signs of prostate cancer however, as cancer progresses, symptoms typically involve the urinary system. Because the prostate is located close to the urethra and bladder, symptoms might include 1 :
- Frequent urination
- Hip or back pain
- Leg swelling or weakness
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms. And if you do catch any of these symptoms, try not to panic. These particular symptoms can often have to do with non-cancerous conditions of the prostate, as well as bladder infections.
Its important to know that there are also several different types of prostate cancer. The most common types found in prostate cancer patients include:
Prostate Specific Antigen Test
A blood test called a prostate specific antigen test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
As a rule, the higher the PSA level in the blood, the more likely a prostate problem is present. But many factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Some prostate glands make more PSA than others.
PSA levels also can be affected by
- Certain medical procedures.
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It’ll Just Take A Minute
There’s no shying away from the fact that this exam involves inserting a gloved and lubricated digit into the rectum. While that may not sound pleasant, it’s over very quickly. The whole appointment might take just few minutes and the part you’re dreading – probably less than 20 seconds.
You’ll be granted some privacy to take off your lower clothing before being asked to lie on your side and draw your knees up to your chest. While it’s natural to tense up in these situations, you be surprised at how easily a lubricated finger slips in. Once it’s in there it usually takes just a few seconds for the anal sphincter to relax around it.
You’ll be aware of some pressing – this shouldn’t be painful but it may make you feel a brief urge to urinate. If you do experience any pain you should tell the examiner straight away. If the exam is physically intolerable for you but deemed necessary it can be performed under general anaesthetic. Once the surface of the prostate has been inspected, the digit is removed and the area around the anus cleaned of any residual lubricant.
Symptoms Of Urinary Problems
Urinary symptoms commonly experienced with prostate problems include:
- the need to urinate frequently during the night
- urinating more often during the day
- urinary urgency the urge to urinate can be so strong and sudden that you may not reach the toilet in time
- the urine stream is slow to start
- urine dribbling for some time after finishing urination
- a sensation that the bladder isn’t fully emptied after urination
- lack of force to the urine flow, which makes directing the stream difficult
- the sensation of needing to go again soon after urinating.
Although these symptoms often do not need treatment, see your doctor if they are causing you difficulty, as they can be successfully treated.
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What To Expect During Your Prostate Exam
If you’ve been avoiding a prostate exam, you could be putting your health at risk. Knowing the facts about the procedure will help put any fears, concerns, or squeamishness to rest.
If you’re a man older than 40 and have not yet had a prostate exam, it’s a good time to talk to your doctor. If you’re also African American or have a family history of prostate cancer, it’s a really good time. One of six men eventually gets a prostate cancer diagnosis. And even though most men have a slow-growing type, prostate cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths in men older than 75. So if you’re afraid of a prostate exam, it’s time get over it and protect your prostate health.
“Start talking about your prostate care plan at age 40, and if you and your doctor think the time is right, get a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test during your annual physical,” suggests Dan Zenka, senior vice president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and a prostate cancer survivor who was diagnosed at age 51 in 2010.
What to Expect During a Primary Care Prostate Health Exam
Your doctor will probably start by asking you if you have any prostate health symptoms like a weak urine stream, dribbling, straining to urinate, or blood in your sperm or urine. Your doctor may also ask if you have a father or a brother with prostate cancer – and if the doctor doesn’t ask, volunteer the information.
Here are the two tests that will be done:
What to Expect if You Need a Prostate Cancer Exam
Getting The Results Of The Biopsy
Your biopsy samples will be sent to a lab, where they will be looked at with a microscope to see if they contain cancer cells. Getting the results usually takes at least 1 to 3 days, but it can sometimes take longer. The results might be reported as:
- Positive for cancer: Cancer cells were seen in the biopsy samples.
- Negative for cancer: No cancer cells were seen in the biopsy samples.
- Suspicious: Something abnormal was seen, but it might not be cancer.
If the biopsy is negative
If the prostate biopsy results are negative , and the chance that you have prostate cancer isnt very high based on your PSA level and other tests, you might not need any more tests, other than repeat PSA tests sometime later.
But even if many samples are taken, biopsies can still sometimes miss a cancer if none of the biopsy needles pass through it. This is known as a false-negative result. If your doctor still strongly suspects you have prostate cancer , your doctor might suggest:
- Getting other lab tests to help get a better idea of whether or not you might have prostate cancer. Examples of such tests include the Prostate Health Index , 4Kscore test, PCA3 tests , and ConfirmMDx. These tests are discussed in Whats New in Prostate Cancer Research?
- Getting a repeat prostate biopsy. This might include getting additional samples of parts of the prostate not biopsied the first time, or using imaging tests such as MRI to look more closely for abnormal areas to target.
Prostate cancer grade
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What Tests Might I Have At The Hospital
If youre given an appointment with a hospital specialist, they may do some of the tests you had at the GP surgery again. You may also have other tests, including the following.
You might be asked to fill in a short questionnaire about your symptoms. This is called the International Prostate Symptom Score and is used to see how bad your symptoms are and how much they are bothering you.
Urine flow test
Youll be asked to urinate into a machine that measures the speed of your urine flow. Men with an enlarged prostate usually have a slower flow than other men. You’ll need a full bladder for the test. The doctor or nurse will tell you how much to drink before you have the test. They may also ask you not to urinate for two to three hours before the test.
This shows how much urine your bladder can hold, and if it is emptying properly. You may have the scan straight after the urine flow test to see how much urine is left in your bladder after you urinate. You may also have an ultrasound scan to look at your kidneys.
Gp Examination And Tests
A GP will ask about your symptoms and concerns, and their impact on your quality of life.
You may be asked to complete a chart that records how much liquid you usually drink, how much urine you pass, how often you have to pee on a daily basis and whether you have any leakage.
The GP may do a physical examination. They may examine your stomach and genital area.
They may also feel your prostate gland through the wall of your bottom . This is called a rectal examination.
The GP may order a blood test to check that your kidneys are working properly.
They may advise you to have a prostate-specific antigen blood test to rule out prostate cancer.
You may be offered a urine test, for example to check for sugar or blood in your pee. This is to see if you have diabetes or an infection.
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What Are We Looking For
Many men experience issues with their prostate gland as they age. The symptoms for benign prostate enlargement and prostate cancer are very similar – most men present first with urinary issues. When your prostate has simply enlarged the surface is usually smooth. We begin to suspect prostate cancer when the surface is hard and lumpy. It’s a key difference and the best way to find out is via a rectal exam.
Should You Choose To Be Screened For Prostate Cancer At All
Prostate cancer is a disease that many men die with rather than of that is, despite aggressive prostate cancer killing some men, many more men would peacefully co-exist with their mild prostate cancers if they were left undiscovered.
Detecting prostate cancer might do good if it allows timely treatment to save mens lives, but can do harm via treatment side-effects: impotence, incontinence, the anxiety of false alarms or of discovering cancer, and so on.
Whether prostate screening saves lives at all is still debated. Several trials have found no preventive effect. The best-conducted trial showed that screening could prevent about one in five deaths from prostate cancer. However, this protection doesnt happen very often.
For a useful illustration, see the second page of this information sheet. This shows that over 11 years, about 1,000 men must be screened to save one life. In saving this one life, the trade-offs include:
- scores of men will have to undergo a prostate biopsy
- several will have complications of this biopsy
- about 37 extra men will find out they have prostate cancer
- several will suffer cancer treatment side effects such as impotence or incontinence.
How should we weigh up these pros and cons?
For some men, the small chance of benefit and the larger risk of harm leads them to decide not to proceed with testing. For others, the possibility of averting a cancer death, though small and uncertain, is worth the risks.
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Surgical Treatment For Enlarged Prostate
Transurethral resection of the prostate . In this surgery, the inner portion of the prostate is removed. Used 90% of the time, this is the most commonly used surgical procedure for BPH.
Open prostatectomy .The surgeon makes an incision and removes the enlarged tissue from the prostate.
Laser surgery Laser surgery uses laser energy to destroy prostate tissue and shrink the prostate.
Transurethral incision of the prostate .This surgery does not involve removing prostate tissue. A few small cuts are made in the prostate gland to reduce the prostates pressure on the urethra, making urination easier.
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Problems With Enlarged Prostate Gland
Benign enlargement of the prostate gland is more common as men get older. It can cause troublesome symptoms, although it doesnt always.
The urethra passes through the prostate gland, so men may have problems urinating if the enlarged gland restricts the flow of urine. If the flow stops completely, a catheter is required to empty the bladder. It is rare for this form of acute urinary retention to cause kidney damage.
An enlarged prostate doesn’t always cause urinary problems. Studies indicate that the size of a man’s prostate gland has little influence on the type or severity of his urination problems. BPH is just one possible cause of urinary symptoms.
Another cause of urinary symptoms can be changes to the muscular wall of the bladder, which may cause spasms of the bladder or weaken the bladder, causing problems passing urine.
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