Did you know that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men? According to the American Cancer Society, one out of every nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Prostate cancer is more likely to occur in older men. Six out of every 10 diagnosed cases are in men 65 or older. The average age at diagnosis is 66.
What’s Included in a Prostate Screening?
Men should start having prostate screenings at 40. The screening has two parts.
- First is the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test. PSA is a protein made by both normal and cancerous cells in the prostate gland. Blood is drawn from your arm and analyzed in a lab to detect the level of PSA present. The higher the PSA level in your blood, the more likely is it that cancer is present. However, other conditions can increase PSA.
- The second part of the screening is a digital rectal exam (DRE). During a DRE, a doctor checks the prostate gland by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. Your doctor is checking for abnormalities, like bumps or hard areas, on the prostate that might be cancer. A DRE may be uncomfortable but usually isn’t painful and is very quick.
Do I Need Both a PSA and a DRE?
Yes. Having both a PSA and a DRE offers the best chances for detecting prostate cancer early. The tests work together to provide valuable data to your urologist. It’s possible to have an abnormal DRE and a normal PSA or a normal DRE and an abnormal PSA and have prostate cancer. Taking both tests gives your urologist a more complete view of your health.
What’s a Normal Result?
There is no standard result from a screening that indicates cancer. What’s normal for each man varies based on his age and other factors. Your urologist will review your test results. If your results indicate an increased likelihood of cancer, your urologist will recommend further testing.
When Should I Be Screened?
Comprehensive Urologic Care recommends the following screening guidelines:
|Under 40||Not recommended.|
|40 – 49||Recommended at least once in your forties to determine baseline. Frequency determined by your doctor based on your results and risk factors.|
|50 – 69||Recommended yearly unless your doctor suggests a different frequency.|
|70+||Recommended for men with more than 10 years of life expectancy. Frequency determined by your doctor. Not recommended for men with less than 10 years of life expectancy|
Limitations of Prostate Screening
Prostate cancer screening can be lifesaving, but it’s not a perfect test. It may lead to the discovery of a type of cancer that will not spread or cause problems. Further testing can cause anxiety and discomfort. It may lead to unnecessary treatment. However, Comprehensive Urologic Care feels strongly that men should have the right to decide whether to be tested.
Will I Need a Biopsy?
If your urologist thinks you might have prostate cancer, he or she will do a biopsy. During a biopsy, small samples of the prostate are removed. A pathologist examines the tissue sample under a microscope, looking for changes that indicate cancer. A prostate biopsy can be done in your urologist’s office or in an outpatient surgery center.
A biopsy is the only way to know for sure if a man has prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is found, a biopsy can also determine how likely it is that cancer will grow and spread quickly.
Comprehensive Urologic Care now offers the Fusion Biopsy, the most advanced biopsy technique for accurate prostate cancer detection and diagnosis. This new technology allows for precise targeting of suspicious areas, which means increased chances of catching high-risk cancer.