Prostate Cancer Screening
It is controversial whether healthy men without prostate cancer symptoms should be screened. Some medical associations suggest that men should start screening for prostate cancer in their 50s, or earlier for people who have the risk for prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of screening. Together you can decide if screening for prostate cancer is the right for you.
Screening is used to detect cancer in the early stage before you have any signs or symptoms. There is a better chance of the cancer cure if the it is detected early. Scientists have developed tests that can be used to screen a person for different types of cancer, and continue to improve. The goal of cancer screening targets to:
- Lower the mortality rate from the disease, or eliminate deaths from cancer
- Lower the number of people who develop for the disease
How often should I be screened for prostate cancer?
For men who are at average risk for prostate cancer, the general guidelines include:
- Age 40: Men at very high risk especially those who are more than one first-degree relative like father, brother, or son (who had prostate cancer below 65 years of age)
- Age 45: High-risk men such as African American men and men with a first-degree parent diagnosed at the age less than 65 years
- Age 50: Men at average risk of prostate cancer and expected to live for at least 10 more years.
These recommendations apply to men who:
- Do not have symptoms of prostate cancer
- Are at average risk for prostate cancer
- Have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer
- Are at increased risk for prostate cancer
Screening is performed to find the prostate cancer signs. Two tests widely used in prostate cancer screening are:
- Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): In digital rectal examination of prostate, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to test your prostate adjacent to the rectum. Further testing may be required when your doctor detects any abnormalities in the shape, size or texture of the gland.
- PSA blood test: Many factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) tests the blood PSA (a substance produced by prostate) levels. In men with prostate cancer, PSA levels in the blood may be higher or can also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
PSA levels also can be affected by:
- An enlarged prostate
- Certain medical procedure
- Prostate infection
- Certain medications
When you experience any abnormality in PSA test, your doctor can suggest a biopsy to find out whether you have prostate cancer. PSA test in combination with DRE helps to identify the early stages of prostate cancers.