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How To Get Tested For Prostate Cancer

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At What Age Should You Get Screened For Prostate Cancer

When to Get Tested for Prostate Cancer

The following prostate cancer screening guidelines apply to men expected to live at least ten years.

Men ages 45 to 49 should have a baseline PSA test.

  • If the PSA level is 3 ng / mL or higher, men should talk with their doctor about having a biopsy of the prostate.
  • If the PSA level is between 1 and 3 ng / mL, men should see their doctor for another PSA test every two to four years.
  • If the PSA level is less than 1 ng / mL, men should see their doctor for another PSA test between the ages of 51 and 55.

Men ages 50 to 59 should have their PSA level checked.

  • If the PSA level is 3 ng / mL or higher, men should talk with their doctor about having a biopsy of the prostate.
  • If the PSA level is between 1 and 3 ng / mL, men should see their doctor for another PSA test every two to four years.
  • If the PSA level is less than 1 ng / mL, men should see their doctor for another PSA test at age 60.

Men ages 60 to 70 should have their PSA level checked.

  • If the PSA level is 3 ng / mL or higher, men should talk with their doctor about having a biopsy of the prostate.
  • If the PSA level is between 1 and 3 ng / mL, men should see their doctor for another PSA test every two to four years.
  • If the PSA level is less than 1 ng / mL, no further screening is recommended.

Men ages 71 to 75 should talk with their doctor about whether to have a PSA test. This decision should be based on past PSA levels and the health of the man.

Am I At Risk Of Prostate Cancer

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. We dont know exactly what causes prostate cancer but there are some things that may mean you are more likely to get it these are called risk factors.

There are three main risk factors for getting prostate cancer, which are things you cant change. These are:

  • getting older it mainly affects men aged 50 or over

If you have any of these risk factors or if you have any symptoms, speak to your GP. They can talk to you about your risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer. You can also get in touch with our Specialist Nurses, who can help you understand your risk of prostate cancer.

Discuss Prostate Cancer Testing With Your Doctor

Medical authorities do not recommend that all men should be tested for prostate cancer. In fact, most authorities suggest that men should make their own choice about whether or not to have a PSA test. If you decide to be tested, it is recommended that it should be done every two years from 50 to 69 years of age, and only if your health is such that you expect to live for at least another seven years.

Men at high risk of prostate cancer, such as men with a family history of prostate cancer , or men who have previously had an elevated test result, can start two-yearly testing from age 45. Your doctor can help you decide whether this is necessary.

While there is now some evidence that regular testing may prevent prostate cancer deaths, there are concerns that many men may be diagnosed and treated unnecessarily as a result of being screened, with a high cost to their health and quality of life .

However, the option of active surveillance, where a low-risk cancer is watched closely instead of being treated, helps to lower these risks. Active surveillance is now used quite commonly in Australia for men with low-risk prostate cancer.

If you are unsure whether or not to be tested after considering the benefits and uncertainties of testing and your own risk of prostate cancer, discuss it with your doctor.

In Australia, if you choose to be tested for prostate cancer the tests are covered by Medicare.

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Should I Be Screened For Prostate Cancer

Since there are benefits and risks to prostate screening, you should talk with your provider to decide if screening is right for you. You and your provider should consider:

  • Your age. The risk of prostate cancer increases after age 50.
  • Your family health history. If members of your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be higher.
  • Your race. Prostate cancer is more common in African Americans. They also have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer at a younger age and having more serious disease.
  • Your general health. Are you well enough to have treatment for prostate cancer if it’s found?
  • What you prefer. How do you feel about the possible benefits and harms of screening, diagnosis, and treatment?

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy

When is PSA test done &  Screening for Prostate Cancer

Most side effects experienced by patients receiving HT are caused by low testosterone. The three most reported side effects are fatigue, hot flashes and sexual changes, including decreased libido and reduced erectile function.

Many of these side effects develop over time. Patients treated for eight months or less time are less likely to experience many of them, although some, such as hot flashes and sexual side effects, usually manifest within the first four to six weeks. Most of these side effects are reversible, diminishing or disappearing when the therapy is stopped and testosterone levels recover.

Not all patients experience all side effects, and there is much variability in their severity.

Here are the side effects patients most often report, along with suggestions for minimizing them:

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A Genetic Biomarker Test For Newly Diagnosed Prostate Cancer

Results from a study of a different genetic biomarker test suggest that it could one day help inform treatment decisions for men newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer.

According to findings published February 24 in JCO Precision Oncology, a biomarker test called the Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score accurately predicted the long-term risk of metastasis and death from prostate cancer in men with localized disease. The test needs to be validated in larger forward-looking studies before it can be used to guide treatment, the study researchers noted.

What Does The Psa Test Involve

The PSA test involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The results indicate:

  • Normal levels: Most healthy adult males have PSA levels below 4 nanograms per milliliter .
  • Borderline levels: PSA levels of 410 ng/ml are borderline. There is a 25% chance that cancer is present, and the person will usually need additional tests.
  • High levels: If PSA levels are over 10 ng/ml, there is a 50% chance that the person has prostate cancer. The specialist will likely recommend more testing, including a prostate biopsy.

It is important to note that PSA levels can naturally vary from person to person. A person with high levels may not have prostate cancer. On the other hand, about 15% of people who test positive for prostate cancer after a biopsy have PSA levels below 4 ng/ml.

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What Should I Expect During My Visit

Your prostate cancer screening will be done with two tests: the prostate-specific antigen blood test and the digital rectal exam .

Prostate-Specific Antigen blood test:When you come in to Planned Parenthood for the PSA blood test, your health care professional will take a blood sample to send to the lab. There, your blood will be tested for prostate-specific antigen levels. High PSA levels are associated with prostate cancer, so the PSA blood test is a good first step for screening.

Digital Rectal Exam: Your health care professional will feel your prostate for hard lumps that might be cancer. To do this, he or she will insert a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum. This may sound uncomfortable, but it is a quick, not painful, and important part of prostate cancer screening.

Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer

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

Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.

Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after a cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report that they are more satisfied with treatment.

Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.

Learn more about the importance of tracking side effects in another part of this guide. Learn more about palliative care in a separate section of this website.

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Response To Public Comment

A draft version of this recommendation statement was posted for public comment on the USPSTF website from April 11 to May 8, 2017. A number of comments suggested that because men are now living longer, they should be screened beyond 70 years of age. However, the USPSTF considered other evidence in addition to data on life expectancy when recommending against screening in men older than 70 years, including results from large screening trials that did not report a mortality benefit for men older than 70 years and evidence on the increased likelihood of harm from screening, diagnostic evaluation, treatment, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment. Several comments requested a recommendation for younger men and for baseline PSA-based screening in men 40 years and older or 50 years and older. The USPSTF found inadequate evidence that screening younger men or performing baseline PSA-based screening provides benefit.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at . All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings.

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Screening Tests For Prostate Cancer

Screening is testing to find cancer in people before they have symptoms. Its not clear, however, if the benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the risks for most men. Still, after discussing the pros and cons of screening with their doctors, some men might reasonably choose to be screened.

The screening tests discussed here are used to look for possible signs of prostate cancer. But these tests cant tell for sure if you have cancer. If the result of one of these tests is abnormal, you will probably need a prostate biopsy to know for sure if you have cancer.

Psa Screening Blood Test

PSA Screening

The American Cancer Society reports that men with a total PSA level of between 4 and 10 have roughly a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. With a total PSA of over 10, the chance of having prostate cancer rises to over 50%. Following the PSA test, if the levels are high, a doctor may suggest a repeat screening test or a prostate biopsy.

In addition to prostate cancer, there are many other factors that can affect a mans PSA levels.

Reasons for a High PSA:

Reasons for a Low PSA:

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Prostate Cancer Screen Tests

Your physician will determine if you may have prostate cancer by ordering or performing the following tests, DRE and PSA blood test. If there is nothing abnormal noted during the DRE and PSA levels are found to be normal, typically, no other tests are performed and the patient has passed the screen for prostate cancer.

Harms Of Early Detection And Treatment

The harms of screening for prostate cancer include harms from the PSA screening test and subsequent harms from diagnosis and treatment. Potential harms of screening include frequent false-positive results and psychological harms. One major trial in men screened every 2 to 4 years concluded that, over 10 years, more than 15% of men experienced at least 1 false-positive test result.5 Harms of diagnostic procedures include complications of prostate biopsy, such as pain, hematospermia , and infection. Approximately 1% of prostate biopsies result in complications requiring hospitalization. The false-positive and complication rates from biopsy are higher in older men.3 Adequate evidence suggests that the harms of screening and diagnostic procedures are at least small.

PSA-based screening for prostate cancer leads to the diagnosis of prostate cancer in some men whose cancer would never have become symptomatic during their lifetime. Treatment of these men results in harms and provides them with no benefit. This is known as overdiagnosis, and follow-up of large randomized trials suggests that 20% to 50% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer through screening may be overdiagnosed.3 Overdiagnosis rates would be expected to increase with age and to be highest in men 70 years and older because older men have high risk of death from competing causes.

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Can A Blood Test Determine If You Have Prostate Cancer

When it comes to prostate cancer, screenings play a key role in saving lives. Earlier detection when there are no symptoms leads to earlier treatment and better outcomes. And the good news is that many prostate cancer screenings can be done with a simple blood test. But thats just the start.

Learn more about how the PSA is the first step in the prostate cancer journey.

Understanding the PSA

For more than 20 years, there has been a blood test to monitor men for high levels of a protein called a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, that is often associated with prostate cancer. Unfortunately, this test is not perfect many harmless conditions can cause heightened levels of this protein, leading to unnecessary tests and procedures that carry their own risk.

The uncertainty over the value of the PSA test led the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2012 to recommend it only be given to people at high risk of prostate cancer. Other groups, including the American Urological Association, opposed this decision at the time.

But that recommendation has been softened. Instead of advising against this test for most men, the task force now suggests that men aged 55 to 69 should talk to their doctor about its risks and potential benefits.

Dr. Vipul Patel, a urologist and robotic surgeon at the AdventHealth, calls that a step in the positive direction.

If youre over 50 years old, get PSA screening and get a rectal prostate exam, he says.

What the PSA Can Reveal

Survival Rates For Prostate Cancer

Should I Get Tested for Prostate Cancer?

Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed. These rates cant tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.

Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they cant predict what will happen in any particular persons case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Ask your doctor, who is familiar with your situation, how these numbers may apply to you.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

According to the NHS website, symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • Needing to pee more frequently, often during the night
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Difficulty in starting to pee
  • Straining or taking a long time while peeing
  • Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

However, symptoms dont tend to present themselves until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra.

This is why it is recommended that you have regular check-ups, even when symptomless.

However, practising GP and Clinical Technology Lead at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, Dr Sameer Sanghvi reminds us that: Prostate cancer is slow growing and therefore you may not present with any symptoms for years.

This is why its so vital to get tested if you have any concerns.

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