How Do I Screen For Prostate Cancer
There are two main early stage screening methods a digital rectal exam , and a blood test measuring PSA levels. PSA screening is regarded as the best method to screen for prostate cancer in men over 40 or those of a certain risk factor.
While men might be intimidated by a DRE, itâs a quick and safe screening technique used by a physician, and should cause no significant pain.
A Digital Rectal Exam is a simple, painless and quick procedure. A physician inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate to identify if the prostate is enlarged, has lumps or is an abnormal texture compared to a healthy example.
Although this procedure is a very clear indicator of prostate health, the entire prostate canât be examined during a DRE. This is why physicians will also take into account PSA blood work, health history, and other risk factors. Overall, itâs often difficult to detect prostate cancer early, itâs mostly found through PSA testing – so PSA screenings should be done regularly, starting at the age of 40-50.
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.
Other Factors That Influence Psa Levels
The PSA blood test alone cannot diagnose prostate cancer. It is possible, although rare, to have prostate cancer without raised PSA levels in the blood. A higher-than-normal PSA level doesnt automatically indicate prostate cancer either. A high PSA level is due to cancer in around one in three cases.
PSA levels can be raised by other factors, including:
- , also known as benign prostatic enlargement .
For this reason, the PSA blood test isnt used in isolation when checking for prostate cancer.
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When Should You Get Your First Prostate Exam
In 30 seconds
The answer to when you should get your first prostate exam depends on your medical history and genetic predisposition.
Your prostate grows throughout your life, which means youre more likely to experience problems as you age.
Prostate cancer is often symptomless, but if you feel unwell, consult a doctor: identifying whats wrong will help you get the right treatment.
First off, what is a prostate? This is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder, near your rectum. It secretes fluid that becomes part of semen, helping to carry sperm. has two main growth phases first in puberty, and the second from around age 25, continuing at a rate of 14% increase each decade.
Sometimes the prostate can become enlarged enough to cause problems or as a result of related health issues. The most common prostate problems are:
- Prostatitis: when your prostate becomes inflamed as a result of an infection
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia : an overly enlarged prostate
- Prostate cancer
The recommended age for a prostate exam takes into account the fact the prostate grows throughout adulthood, but BPH, prostatitis and prostate cancer can affect you at any age. Below, well outline what to look out for, when to get a prostate exam, and what that entails.
When Do You Need A Prostate Exam
PSA is continuously present in the bloodstream for most men, and an increase in its number may be attributed to causes other than cancer. However, men who have an increased risk of prostate cancer should undergo a regular prostate exam.
Age, family history, and race are all possible factors that can increase your risk. Likewise, your doctor may also recommend that you undergo testing if you are experiencing discomfort or pain while urinating.
Symptoms which may indicate that you have a prostate issue include the following:
- Inconsistent flow of urine
How Often Is a Prostate Exam Necessary?
Your frequency of testing may be due to several factors, including your age and present health condition:
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Can A Swollen Prostate If Untreated Cause Prostate Cancer
We have no evidence of that. Theyre completely unrelated problems. The area of the prostate that causes urinary symptoms is usually a different part of the prostate than where cancer is likeliest to develop.
Doctors divide the prostate into different zones. The zone that is associated with BPHand the majority of prostate growthis the transition zone. Prostate cancer occurs there much less often than in the peripheral zone, which is the outer area.
What Age Should Men Be Screened For Prostate Cancer
The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends that Black men or men with a family history of cancer be screened at the age of 40 otherwise, the organization advises getting screened at 45. The American Cancer Society recommends that men at average risk be screened at the age of 50, while men at high risk of developing prostate cancer like Black men and men who have a first-degree relative, like a father or brother, who were diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65, be screened at 45. Men at even higher risk should be screened at 40.
In 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation advising men to start talking about screenings with their doctors at the age of 55.
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When To Startand Stopscreening
The doctors and researchers who recommend screening argue that cases of prostate cancer found very early can be cured more quickly, with less chance of relapse or spread. Those who recommend against routine screening point to the slow-moving nature of prostate cancer and the side effects of surgical and medical treatment, which can be considerable.
The introduction of PSA screening in the US led to an initial increase in the number of prostate cancer cases diagnosed each year, even though many of these new cases were non-aggressive or low-risk prostate cancer. The issue was not that screening was harmful, it was that many of these low-risk cancers did not necessarily need immediate treatment. It seems strange to say that a patient might be better off leaving cancer untreated, but in some cases, it can be true. For a few years, the United States Preventative Services Task Force recommended against PSA screening. We are now seeing more cases of advanced prostate cancer diagnosed in recent years. This may be a long-tail effect of that USPSTF recommendation. It has now been changed to note that for men aged 55 to 69 years, the decision to undergo PSA screening is an individual one and should be discussed with your doctor. USPSTF continues to recommend against screening for men aged 70 and over.
Deciding If You Need A Prostate Screening
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Early Detection Saves Lives
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian men .
Prostate cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the prostate gland. This gland is only found in males and is about the size of a walnut.
The causes of prostate cancer are not understood and there is currently no clear prevention strategy.
Keeping Track Of Your Prostate As You Age
When you reach age 40, talk to your doctor about your familyâs medical history and other key factors that will help determine your risk of developing the disease.
If you get tested, youâll likely undergo a digital rectal exam and a PSA test, a blood-draw that measures your levels of prostate specific antigen . High PSA levels could indicate cancer, but they can also be caused by other conditions, including BPH. Talk to your doctor to make sure you understand what the results mean.
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Do You Really Need An Annual Prostate Exam
Common knowledge used to hold that men over the age of 50 needed to get an annual digital prostate exam. Catching cancer early is important, but do men really need to get the uncomfortable procedure every year? Dr. Tom Miller has some good news for men about modern prostate screenings.
Interviewer: Your annual prostate exam. Is it still something that you should have done every year, or can you skip it? We’ll find out next on The Scope.
Announcer: Help information from experts supported by research from the University of Utah Health. This is the scoperadio.com.
Interviewer: Dr. Tom Miller, so, at one point, I know that every year that they said you should get a prostate exam if you’re after over 50 years old. Do you have to still do that anymore, or is there a better way?
Interviewer: All right. So, just to clarify, because I mean this is a bit of a paradigm change for me. It feels a little weird like . . .
Dr. Miller: Well, most men would tell you that.
Interviewer: Yes, I don’t mean in that way, but it feels a little strange that we’re saying now you don’t need to do the rubber glove and the whole thing, that there’s actually an alternative test you’re talking about. Tell me more about that test.
Interviewer: Got you. So it’s just a blood draw that would start after the age of 50, earlier, if you have a family history?
Dr. Miller: Average comers starting at the age of 50.
Interviewer: Got you, and there’s some symptoms or something going.
Dr. Miller: Correct.
Weighing Your Options For Treatment
If you test positive for prostate cancer, you have some options as to what youd like to do about it. Until recently, nearly everyone opted for surgery or radiation, while some patients choose not to undergo treatment, instead opting for active surveillance, during which the cancers are left alone but regularly monitored to be certain that theyre not growing.
Certainly, screening can lead to earlier prostate cancer detection, and with earlier detection, youre eligible for multiple different treatments or active surveillance, said Sia Daneshmand, MD, associate professor of urology at Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of urologic oncology at the USC Institute of Urology at Keck Medicine of USC. So we encourage patients who are candidates for screening to discuss it with their urologist and/or primary care physician so that we can determine whats the best course of treatment for them.
There also is a new option for those seeking prostate cancer treatment. Its called High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound , which uses ultrasound beams to non-surgically destroy prostate tumors.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, schedule an appointment with one of our urologists by calling or by visiting Urology.KeckMedicine.org/request-an-appointment.
Is Going To The Bathroom Frequently A Sign Of Prostate Cancer
Thats one of the challenging things having urinary symptoms is very rarelyalmost nevera sign of prostate cancer. Having urinary symptoms means you should probably be evaluated for an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia . We can treat your urinary symptoms and help you pee better.
If urinary symptoms bring men to the doctor, we can discuss screening for prostate cancer. Thats important because not all men will go to a doctor until theres something wrong with them. And prostate cancer screening really is the only way to detect prostate cancer, because its almost always asymptomatic.
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.
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Research Into Prostate Cancer Screening
Many prostate cancers grow very slowly and dont cause men any problems in their lifetime. Overall, evidence from trials of prostate screening has shown that prostate cancer screening does not reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer.
The Cancer Research UK CAP trial looked at whether a single PSA blood test would reduce the number of men dying of prostate cancer. This was a large UK study with over 400,000 men between the ages of 50 and 69 taking part. Around half the men were offered a PSA blood test the other half weren’t.
The results in early 2018 showed that the number of men dying from prostate cancer was the same in both groups. This was after 10 years of follow up. The researchers say that this trial doesnt support PSA testing as a screening test for prostate cancer. They say we need more research to find a better screening test.
This supports what the 2013 Cochrane review found. This looked at screening research from a number of trials and concluded that prostate cancer screening did not reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer.
Research looking at doing more than one test doesnt show that this would help either. Increasing the number of tests could increase the level of harms such as diagnosing those cancers that wouldnt cause any harm . Many men have side effects from treatment and the risks of routine PSA screening outweigh the benefits.
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Dr. Matthew Rettig, the medical director of the Prostate Cancer Program at the Institute of Urologic Oncology at UCLA in California, said that even if screenings arenât performed right away, men should at least start talking about them with their doctors early in life.
âI think I would have that conversation fairly early on in life, maybe even in 30s or 40s, about when to initiate screening,â said Retting. âI think that would be most important for patients who are at high risk for prostate cancer and high risk for early onset of prostate cancer. Those are the types of patients that probably ought to have the discussion and make a decision about when to start screening at a relatively young age.â
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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 Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
Not everyone with prostate cancer has symptoms, so regular screening should be a part of your annual physical, starting at the age of 40-50. However, prostate symptoms should never be ignored and should be brought up to a physician.
Typical symptoms of prostate cancer, according to the Prostate Conditions Education Council , include:
- Frequent urination
- Weak urinary stream
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Who Should Get A Digital Rectal Exam
Not all medical institutions agree on when men should begin screening for prostate cancer or even if a DRE should be part of the screening.
To help detect prostate cancer in its early stages, the American Cancer Society recommends that men talk to their doctors about the benefits, risks, and limitations of prostate cancer screening before deciding whether to be tested.
For most men at average risk, discussions about screening begin at age 50. However, some doctors recommend that men at higher risk of prostate cancer — African-American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer — start screening earlier.