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How Do They Test For Prostate Cancer

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Further Testing For Advanced Cancer

Tests to Diagnose and Monitor Prostate Cancer

If there’s a significant chance the cancer has spread from your prostate to other parts of the body, further tests may be recommended.

These include:

  • an MRI scan, CT scan or PET scan these scans build a detailed picture of the inside of your body
  • an isotope bone scan, which can tell if the cancer has spread to your bones a small amount of radiation dye is injected into the vein and then collects in parts of the bone where there are any abnormalities

How Is The Gleason Score Derived

The pathologist looking at the biopsy sample will assign one Gleason grade to the most predominant pattern in your biopsy and a second Gleason grade to the second most predominant pattern. For example: 3 + 4. The two grades will then be added together to determine your Gleason score. Theoretically, Gleason scores range from 2-10. However, since Dr. Gleasons original classification, pathologists almost never assign scores 2-5, and Gleason scores assigned will range from 6 to 10, with 6 being the lowest grade cancer.

Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis .

When this happens, you may notice things like:

  • an increased need to pee
  • straining while you pee
  • a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied

These symptoms should not be ignored, but they do not mean you have prostate cancer.

It’s more likely they’re caused by something else, such as prostate enlargement.

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What Is The Chance Of A Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer

Around 17,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in Australia. It affects mostly men in older age groups and is rare in men under 50 years of age.

The chance of developing prostate cancer is significantly higher in men who have a close relative with prostate cancer the risks are higher if the relative was diagnosed before the age of 60.

If you have a family history of prostate cancer, talk to your doctor.

How Fast And Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread

How To Treat Elevated PSA Levels.

Like other cancers, prostate cancer can spread from the site of where it first started to other sites of the body. Once it spreads, the disease may still respond to the treatment, but typically it is now no longer to be cured. Bones, liver, and lungs are the most common sites for prostate cancer metastasis. How do you know that it has spread? And how fast this metastasis?

Since the early detection of the disease is very crucial for the prognosis and outlook of patients , its very important to diagnose the disease as early as possible.

In the U.S, the number of men diagnosed with the disease at later stages decreases drastically due to the implementation of PSA screening test .

Men with many risk factors of prostate cancer should start discussing the test with their doctor earlier. Visit this section for more information about this!

The PSA test is also recommended in other countries . However whether this test is necessary for all men is debatable.

For those who eventually dont have prostate cancer in their life, the choice to take the test may put them at high risk of getting over-diagnosis, making anxiety more likely.

Therefore, some experts agree that the screening prostate cancer test is more recommended for those who have some /many risk factors of the disease. For more advice, consult more with your GP!

How prostate cancer is diagnosed?

PSA screening test
Rectal examinations
Biopsy procedure
IVU or IVP Intravenous urogram

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How Is Prostate Cancer Detected

There is no single test to detect prostate cancer. The two most common tests are the prostate specific antigen blood test and the digital rectal examination .

The PSA test measures the level of PSA in your blood. It does not specifically test for cancer. Virtually all PSA is produced by the prostate gland. The normal range depends on your age. A PSA above the typical range may indicate the possibility of prostate cancer. However, two-thirds of cases of elevated PSA are due to noncancerous conditions such as prostatitis and BPH.

A DRE is generally conducted by a urologist to feel the prostate. While DRE is no longer recommended as a routine test for men who do not have symptoms of prostate cancer, it may be used to check for any changes in the prostate before doing a biopsy.

If either of these tests suggest an abnormality, other tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer, usually a magnetic resonance imaging scan and transrectal ultrasound biopsy.

Should I Have A Psa Test

If you have no symptoms of prostate cancer and are thinking about having a PSA test, you should ask your doctor about the risks and benefits.

While some studies suggest PSA reduces mortality on a population basis, the test picks up large numbers of cancers that would have caused no symptoms or harm in the patient. This is known as overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis of prostate cancer can lead to unnecessary treatments that have side effects such as sexual impotence, urinary incontinence and bowel problems.

It is important to balance the potential benefit of detecting a prostate cancer early against the risk that detection and treatment may not be necessary. Treatment may affect your lifestyle but it may also save your life.

Make your own decision about whether to be tested after a discussion with your doctor. Ensure you get good quality information to make an informed decision.

Screening tests for breast, bowel and cervical cancer can save lives, but there is still confusion around PSA testing for prostate cancer. Find more information here.

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.

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How To Check Your Prostate

This article was co-authored by Robert Dhir, MD. Dr. Robert Dhir is a board certified Urologist, Urological Surgeon, and the Founder of HTX Urology in Houston, Texas. With over 10 years of experience, Dr. Dhirs expertise includes minimally-invasive treatments for enlarged prostate , kidney stone disease, surgical management of urological cancers, and mens health . His practice has been named a Center of Excellence for the UroLift procedure, and is a pioneer in non-surgical procedures for ED using his patented Wave Therapy. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown University and was awarded honors in pre-medical studies, urology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology. Dr. Dhir served as chief resident during his urological surgical residency at University of Texas at Houston / MD Anderson Cancer Center in addition to completing his internship in general surgery. Dr. Dhir was voted Top Doctor in Urology for 2018 to 2019, one of the top three Best Rated Urologists in 2019 & 2020 for Houston Texas, and Texas Monthly has named him to the 2019 & 2020 Texas Super Doctors Rising Stars list.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 11 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,038,621 times.

The Test Is Often Not Needed

New Test to Detect Prostate Cancer Now Available

Most men with high PSAs dont have prostate cancer. Their high PSAs might be due to:

  • An enlarged prostate gland.
  • Recent sexual activity.
  • A recent, long bike ride.

Up to 25% of men with high PSAs may have prostate cancer, depending on age and PSA level. But most of these cancers do not cause problems. It is common for older men to have some cancer cells in their prostate glands. These cancers are usually slow to grow. They are not likely to spread beyond the prostate. They usually dont cause symptoms, or death.

Studies show that routine PSA tests of 1,000 men ages 55 to 69 prevent one prostate cancer death. But the PSA also has risks.

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Use In Men Who Might Have Prostate Cancer

The PSA blood test is used mainly to screen for prostate cancer in men without symptoms. Its also one of the first tests done in men who have symptoms that might be caused by prostate cancer.

PSA in the blood is measured in units called nanograms per milliliter . The chance of having prostate cancer goes up as the PSA level goes up, but there is no set cutoff point that can tell for sure if a man does or doesnt have prostate cancer. Many doctors use a PSA cutoff point of 4 ng/mL or higher when deciding if a man might need further testing, while others might recommend it starting at a lower level, such as 2.5 or 3.

  • Most men without prostate cancer have PSA levels under 4 ng/mL of blood. Still, a level below 4 is not a guarantee that a man doesnt have cancer.
  • Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer.
  • If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.

If your PSA level is high, you might need further tests to look for prostate cancer.

To learn more about how the PSA test is used to look for cancer, including factors that can affect PSA levels, special types of PSA tests, and what the next steps might be if you have an abnormal PSA level, see Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer.

What Are Clinical Trials And Are They Right For You

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.

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How Do I Get Tested

A general practitioner or an urologist can perform a full prostate cancer exam. This would usually include a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam, also called a DRE.

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.

A Digital Rectal Exam is a test that is done when a doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for lumps or other abnormalities.

Talk to your general doctor or urologist about receiving a prostate exam. If you do not have a doctor, do not have insurance, and cannot afford a test, find out what free screenings are available in your area on our Free Testing Map. If you do not see a free screening in your area, check back in the fall. Many screenings occur in September, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Recent research has yielded additional tests that in addition to the PSA and subsequent DRE and Biopsy that can give a doctor more information on to determine the probability of both finding cancer during a biopsy and determining how aggressive that cancer is likely to be. Learn more here.

Men At Higher Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer symptoms: How do they test for it in the ...

Some men are at higher risk of prostate cancer than others. These are:

  • black men
  • men who have a family history of prostate cancer

The risk of prostate cancer also increases as men get older.

The evidence so far doesnt suggest that routinely screening these men would help prevent deaths from prostate cancer. In fact, it might lead to men having treatment for prostate cancer even though that cancer wouldnt have caused any problems or symptoms.

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Tests To Diagnose And Stage Prostate Cancer

Most prostate cancers are first found as a result of screening. Early prostate cancers usually dont cause symptoms, but more advanced cancers are sometimes first found because of symptoms they cause.

If prostate cancer is suspected based on results of screening tests or symptoms, tests will be needed to be sure. If youre seeing your primary care doctor, you might be referred to a urologist, a doctor who treats cancers of the genital and urinary tract, including the prostate.

The actual diagnosis of prostate cancer can only be made with a prostate biopsy .

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What Is A Digital Rectal Exam

The most common way for doctors to check on the health of your prostate is with a DRE. Its a fairly quick and simple procedure.

For the exam, youll bend at the waist while standing or lie on your side with your knees bent toward your chest.

Your doctor will lubricate a gloved finger and gently place it inside your rectum. Theyll press one hand on your prostate, and their other hand will feel your pelvic area. It should only take a few moments.

You may experience momentary discomfort. You may also feel the urge to urinate, especially if your prostate is enlarged or inflamed.

Your doctor will be able to tell you if your prostate seems to be a normal size and shape. In general, a DRE has no risks.

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What Is A Normal Psa Test Result

There is no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA in the blood, and levels may vary over time in the same man. In the past, most doctors considered PSA levels of 4.0 ng/mL and lower as normal. Therefore, if a man had a PSA level above 4.0 ng/mL, doctors would often recommend a prostate biopsy to determine whether prostate cancer was present.

However, more recent studies have shown that some men with PSA levels below 4.0 ng/mL have prostate cancer and that many men with higher levels do not have prostate cancer . In addition, various factors can cause a mans PSA level to fluctuate. For example, a mans PSA level often rises if he has prostatitis or a urinary tract infection. Prostate biopsies and prostate surgery also increase PSA level. Conversely, some drugsincluding finasteride and dutasteride , which are used to treat BPHlower a mans PSA level. PSA level may also vary somewhat across testing laboratories.

Another complicating factor is that studies to establish the normal range of PSA levels have been conducted primarily in populations of White men. Although expert opinions vary, there is no clear consensus regarding the optimal PSA threshold for recommending a prostate biopsy for men of any racial or ethnic group.

In general, however, the higher a mans PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer. Moreover, a continuous rise in a mans PSA level over time may also be a sign of prostate cancer.

How To Check Prostate Cancer

How to Test for Prostate Cancer | Ask a Prostate Expert, Mark Scholz, MD

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:

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What Happens After The Prostate Tests

Urodynamic tests and cystoscopy may cause mild discomfort for a few hours after the procedures. Drinking an 8-ounce glass of water every half-hour for 2 hours may help reduce discomfort. The health care provider may recommend taking a warm bath or holding a warm, damp washcloth over the urethral opening to relieve discomfort. A prostate biopsy may produce pain in the area of the rectum and the perineum, which is between the rectum and the scrotum. A prostate biopsy may also produce blood in urine and semen.

An antibiotic may be prescribed for 1 or 2 days to prevent infection.

Patients with signs of infectionincluding pain, chills, or fevershould call their health care provider immediately.

When Should I Have A Prostate Check

Generally, if you aged 50 years or older and have any urinary symptoms, you should let your doctor know. They will discuss with you whether or not you should have a prostate check.

Symptoms include:

  • poor flow of urine
  • trouble stopping peeing
  • dribbling after you are done peeing
  • needing to pee more often, at night or urgently
  • trouble starting peeing
  • incontinence
  • pain when peeing
  • blood in your pee.

If you have no symptoms, it is recommended that you get checked if you:

  • you are a man aged 5070 years old but dont have any family history
  • you are a man aged 4070 years old and your father or brother has had prostate cancer
  • you are a man aged more than 70 years old and you have family history of prostate cancer or you have had an abnormal PSA test previously, and you have a life expectancy of more than 10 years.

Having a prostate check is your decision. The tests for prostate cancer can be uncomfortable but they may reduce your chance of being harmed or dying from prostate cancer.

If your test results suggest you are at risk of cancer, you will need to decide whether to have further testing and possibly treatment. In making this decision, you will need to consider whether your quality of life will be better living with a slow growing cancer than having treatments, which may cause you more harm than the cancer ever will.

Your doctor can help you weigh up the benefits and risks of being tested, by taking into consideration factors such as your age and family history.

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