The best defense against prostate cancer is to undergo a prostate cancer screening even before the symptoms appear. Most cancers can be treated when discovered during the early stage and before it has started to spread. After all, doctors now have more research information in their hands before they ask a patient to undergo screening for cancer.
Men in particular are vulnerable to developing prostate cancer because the prostate forms part of their reproductive system. The prostate, which is located near the rectum and the bladder, is a gland that secretes seminal fluids. It is a little larger than the size of a walnut, but can get bigger as men get older which can result to the blockage of urine flow.
Among the factors that can increase the risks of getting prostate cancer are:
- Family history
- High-fat diet
- Intake of alcoholic beverages
There are different types of prostate cancer screening tests that can be availed of by persons who are at high risk of getting the condition on account of the various risk factors:
Digital rectal exam
This test is done through the insertion of a gloved finger at the rectum’s lowest part to check if there are lumps or any unusual growth in the prostate.
Prostate-specific antigen test
This test measures the psa levels in the blood as an increased level can signify prostate cancer. However, an increase in the amount of the PSA substance in the blood can also indicate benign prostatic hyperplasia which is an enlarged prostate but not cancerous, or a mere inflammation or infection in the prostate.
There are however studies being made to determine the possibility of using the combined digital rectal examination and the PSA testing in order to get a more accurate screening results. There are also other factors that will be considered by your doctor when evaluating the psa levels including your risk factors and the intake of medicines and supplements that may affect the level of PSA such Dutasteride and Finasteride.
The diagnosis of prostate cancer can be very tricky considering the presence of factors that can yield a false-positive result. Research shows that only one of four male patients with an elevated level of PSA will be diagnosed with cancer. On the other hand, there are also cases when the patient’s test results do not show increased PSA but they are already suffering from prostate cancer. It is thus important to choose an experienced doctor who will be able to help interpret the results and recommend the appropriate prostate cancer treatments.
It is also important to undergo a PSA test in order to determine the prostate cancer stage and the chances of the cancer metastasizing in other parts of the body. This way, your doctor will be able to recommend a possible prostate cancer cure or prostate cancer surgery when necessary. This type of cancer can have many side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction, hence early detection is important in order to reduce these effects.
However, the decision to undergo a prostate cancer screening test is not easy to make as it has its risks. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of taking the test with your doctor before you decide to take the plunge.
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