How Should I Prepare For The Exam
You should tell your doctor if you have hemorrhoids, anal tears, or other problems with your anus. The exam will be easier if you breathe normally and try to relax.
Before having a PSA test, tell your doctor about any medications and supplements you take. Recent ejaculation can also affect your PSA levels. Ask your doctor if you should abstain from sexual activity before the test.
Your blood must be sent to a laboratory for analysis, so your PSA results wont be available immediately. Your doctor will let you know when they have the results.
The lab report will show the level of PSA in your blood as:
In addition to looking at the amount of PSA in your blood, your doctor will assess how quickly this number is changing. Many things can affect PSA, so test results require careful analysis by an expert. Your doctor will take all of your health information into account.
If you have an abnormal PSA test result, it doesnt mean you have prostate cancer. Most men with a high PSA level dont have prostate cancer. About 25 percent of men who have a biopsy due to a high PSA level have prostate cancer.
Its also possible for men with prostate cancer to have normal DRE and PSA test results.
Method 2 Of 4:recognizing The Symptoms
Psa Density And Psa Density Of The Transition Zone
PSA density is the level of PSA in the blood in relation to the size of the prostate measured during a transrectal ultrasound . It is calculated by taking the PSA level and dividing by the prostate volume. PSA levels are usually higher in men with enlarged prostates. PSAD can help doctors tell which men have prostate cancer and which men have benign prostatic hyperplasia because a high PSAD is more often related to prostate cancer.
PSAD of the transition zone is the level of PSA in the blood in relation to the volume of the transition zone of the prostate. PSAD of the transition zone seems to be more accurate than PSAD of the entire prostate at identifying which men have benign prostatic hyperplasia and which men have prostate cancer.
First What Is Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate â a small walnut-shaped gland in men. This is the gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Thankfully some prostate cancers are slow growing, without causing serious harm. However, others are aggressive, so for both scenarios, identifying the cancer earlier is key.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms: What You Should Know
Prostate cancer symptoms are rare. Prostate cancer symptoms are more likely to occur in stages 3 and 4 of prostate cancer.
During stages 3 and 4 of prostate cancer, when patients may begin to experience prostate cancer symptoms, the cancer is likely to have spread outside of the prostate gland, most commonly to the bones.
As Chief Of Urology, I find myself being asked the same questions again and again when it comes to prostate cancer, and that is a huge motivator for me to continue raising awareness when it comes to mens health.
Dr. Robert Mordkin is the U.S. Medical Director for LetsGetChecked
Often the questions that my patients ask me are centered around the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.
Patients ask me: What physical signs will tell me I have prostate cancer? and What are the most common symptoms of prostate cancer?
Its not as easy question to navigate because most of the men that get diagnosed with prostate cancer will come into the physicians office about something else and end up leaving the office with question marks around prostate cancer.
What Other Screening Tests Are Used To Detect Prostate Cancer
Because a biopsy is an invasive procedure, your doctor may first use one or more of the following methods to screen for prostate cancer:
When your doctor takes a detailed medical history, they may ask you about your symptoms, underlying health conditions and whether you consume alcohol or tobacco in any form. Your doctor may also ask you whether any of your close family members such as a father, uncle or brother were diagnosed with prostate cancer at a young age . You may also be asked other questions such as whether you have experienced weight loss or a change in sex drive.
Digital rectal examination
A thorough physical examination will also allow your doctor to assess your general health by looking for any signs of disease.
Your doctor may order a digital rectal examination . During a DRE, your doctor will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum and try to feel for any lumps, irregularities or hard areas on the prostate that could suggest cancer. This examination will also provide clues as to whether the cancer is in one or both sides of the prostate and whether it has spread to the nearby structures.
Prostate-specific antigen blood test
Your doctor may order blood tests to look for blood counts or inflammatory markers . One blood test may measure the levels of a type of protein called PSA, which is made by both normal and cancerous cells in the prostate.
Medical History And Physical Exam
If your doctor suspects you might have prostate cancer, he or she will ask you about any symptoms you are having, such as any urinary or sexual problems, and how long you have had them. You might also be asked about possible risk factors, including your family history.
Your doctor will also examine you. This might include a digital rectal exam , during which the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate that might be cancer. If you do have cancer, the DRE can sometimes help tell if its only on one side of the prostate, if its on both sides, or if its likely to have spread beyond the prostate to nearby tissues. Your doctor may also examine other areas of your body.
After the exam, your doctor might then order some tests.
How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have prostate cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called the stage of the cancer. You may have heard other people say that their cancer was stage 1 or stage 2. Your doctor will want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what types of treatment might be best for you.
The stage is based on the growth or spread of the cancer through the prostate, and if it has spread to other parts of your body. It also includes your blood PSA level and the grade of the cancer. The prostate cancer cells are given a grade, based on how they look under a microscope. Those that look very different from normal cells are given a higher grade and are likely to grow faster. The grade of your cancer might be given as a Gleason score or a Grade Group . Ask your doctor to explain the grade of your cancer. The grade also can helpdecide which treatments might be best for you.
Your cancer can be stage 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
If your cancer hasnt spread to other parts of the body, it might also be given a risk group. The risk group is based on the extent of the cancer in the prostate, your PSA level, and the results of the prostate biopsy. The risk group can help tell if other tests should be done, and what the best treatment options might be.
How Are Researchers Trying To Improve The Psa Test
Scientists are investigating ways to improve the PSA test to give doctors the ability to better distinguish cancerous from benign conditions and slow-growing cancers from fast-growing, potentially lethal cancers. None has been proven to decrease the risk of death from prostate cancer. Some of the methods being studied include:
Can I Check For Prostate Cancer At Home
It is strongly advised under any circumstances not to self-examine for prostate cancer at home either by yourself or with a partner. Not only does it take a skilled professional to assess how the prostate feels to make an accurate determination of overall prostate health, self-examinations have the potential to cause injury.Â
âSince the prostate is an internal gland, itâs extremely important that only licensed medical professionals conduct the exam. At-home self-exams should not be administered in order to avoid injury or self-harm. Regular screening is important for prostate cancer, as the disease often does not present symptoms until it is too late. Talk to your doctor about making sure you receive a regular DRE check-up at each visit.â
While actually screening yourself for prostate cancer at home is ill advised, you can still monitor your risk factors for prostate cancer between yearly check-ups, like practicing a healthy diet and exercising regularly.Â
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.
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.
Determining Whether Prostate Cancer Is Aggressive
If a biopsy sample is found to contain cancer, the pathologist analyzing the specimen takes a deeper look at the cancer cells to determine how aggressive the disease is likely to be.
If the cancer cells appear significantly abnormal and dissimilar from healthy cells under a microscope, the cancer is considered more aggressive and expected to advance quickly. Conversely, cancer cells that look relatively similar to healthy cells indicate that its less aggressive and may not spread as fast.
Prostate cancers are assigned a Gleason score depending on how abnormal the cells look..
Gleason score: Gleason scores range from 2 to 10, going from least to most aggressive prostate cancers.
There are different types of cancer cells in a prostate tumor, so the final Gleason score is determined by adding the scores of the two main areas of the tumor.
First, the primary part of the tumor is assigned a number between 1 and 5. Lower numbers indicate that the cells appear relatively similar to healthy cells, while higher numbers show that the cells are abnormal-looking. Then, another number between 1 and 5 is assigned to describe the second most prevalent area of the tumor.
Finally, the two numbers assigned to the different parts of the prostate tumor are added. So, if most of the tumor is given a 4, and some of the tumor is more aggressive and given a 5, the final Gleason score would be 9.
There are many biomarker tests, including:
Genetic Testing For Prostate Cancer
You may hear a lot about genetics or genomics. Both terms are related to genes and cell DNA, but they are different. These tests are being used to learn more about the DNA of cancer cells, and link DNA mutations with treatments. In the future, genetic testing may be the first step doctors take when diagnosing prostate cancer.
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.
- 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
- 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.
When Should I Get Tested
Deciding to get tested is a personal decision made after a consultation with a doctor. Some important factors to consider are your age, race, family history, and history of exposure. For example, exposure to Agent Orange, other defoliants, or pesticides can be a factor.
Visit Am I at Risk? to learn more. All men are at risk of prostate cancer, so it is important to talk with your doctor to make an informed decision. Check out our recommended age and testing guidelines, which are based on the NCCN provided recommendations.
Detecting prostate cancer early gives you the best chance of living longer. In fact, more than 99 percent of men survive prostate cancer when it is caught early.
Watch prostate cancer experts, Dr. Lowentritt and Dr. Siegel in this video discuss detection and diagnosis:
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.
What If A Screening Test Shows An Elevated Psa Level
If a man who has no symptoms of prostate cancer chooses to undergo prostate cancer screening and is found to have an elevated PSA level, the doctor may recommend another PSA test to confirm the original finding. If the PSA level is still high, the doctor may recommend that the man continue with PSA tests and DREs at regular intervals to watch for any changes over time.
If a mans PSA level continues to rise or if a suspicious lump is detected during a DRE, the doctor may recommend additional tests to determine the nature of the problem. A urine test may be recommended to check for a urinary tract infection. The doctor may also recommend imaging tests, such as a transrectal ultrasound, x-rays, or cystoscopy.
If prostate cancer is suspected, the doctor will recommend a prostate biopsy. During this procedure, multiple samples of prostate tissue are collected by inserting hollow needles into the prostate and then withdrawing them. Most often, the needles are inserted through the wall of the rectum . A pathologist then examines the collected tissue under a microscope. The doctor may use ultrasound to view the prostate during the biopsy, but ultrasound cannot be used alone to diagnose prostate cancer.
Further Tests For Prostate Cancer
If results of the PSA test or the DRE are abnormal, a urologist will likely recommend a biopsy, where small samples of tissue are removed from the prostate and examined.
If cancer is diagnosed, other tests may be used to check the progression of the cancer, including:
- magnetic resonance imaging scan of the prostate often done before a biopsy
- bone scan to check whether or not cancer cells have spread to the bones
- computed tomography scan a specialised x-ray
- pelvic lymph node dissection a nearby lymph node is removed and examined to check whether or not cancer cells have entered the lymphatic system .
Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer
Check out this for a summary of the video.
Diagnosis is the process of finding out the cause of a health problem. Diagnosing prostate cancer usually begins with a visit to your family doctor. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and do a physical exam. Based on this information, your doctor may refer you to a specialist or order tests to check for prostate cancer or other health problems.
The process of diagnosis may seem long and frustrating. Its normal to worry, but try to remember that other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as prostate cancer. Its important for the healthcare team to rule out other reasons for a health problem before making a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
The following tests are usually used to rule out or diagnose prostate cancer. Many of the same tests used to diagnose cancer are used to find out the stage . Your doctor may also order other tests to check your general health and to help plan your treatment.
Who Should Get A Prostate Exam
Starting at age 50, all men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor. The American Cancer Society advises men at higher risk to have this conversation at age 45.
Youre considered to have an increased risk if youre African-American or if a first-degree relative had prostate cancer before age 65. If more than one first-degree relative had prostate cancer before age 65, you might want to consider beginning prostate cancer screening even earlier.
Prostate cancer is easier to treat before it spreads. However, some prostate cancers are so slow-growing that they dont always require treatment. A lot depends on your age and other factors.
Discuss your risk factors with your doctor, and ask if you should have a prostate exam as part of your yearly checkup.
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:
Why A Psa Test Is Done
A PSA test may be done to:
- help find prostate cancer early in men who dont have any signs or symptoms of the disease
- check for cancer in men who have signs or symptoms of prostate cancer
- confirm a diagnosis when other tests suggest prostate cancer
- predict a prognosis for prostate cancer
- predict if cancer has spread outside the prostate
- plan treatment for prostate cancer
- monitor men with prostate cancer who are being treated with active surveillance
- find out if cancer treatments are working
- find out if cancer has come back after treatment
A PSA test is often used together with a digital rectal exam to increase the chance of finding prostate cancer early when it is easier to treat. Using these tests together is better than using either test alone.
Should I Have A Prostate Cancer Screening Test
Routine testing for prostate cancer in all men without symptoms is not recommended in New Zealand at present. Being tested for prostate cancer is your choice. Learning about the pros and cons of prostate testing can help you decide if it is right for you.
To help you decide if a prostate check is right for you, the Ministry of Health has developed the Kupe website. It will help you understand the risks, benefits and implications of prostate testing, so you can have an informed conversation with your doctor.
If you are unsure about whether you need to get tested for prostate cancer, contact your GP for a discussion on the risks and benefits of testing.
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 lower 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.