Should all men get screened for prostate cancer? The answer is, it’s up to you. Talk to your doctor to see if screening is right for you. Typically men aged 55 to 69 benefit the most from prostate cancer screening.
While this may be a sensitive topic to talk about, remember you have your family and friends to support you. Learn more about your options here.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Getting screened for cancer means checking for cancer before it causes symptoms. When screening for prostate cancer the ultimate goal is to find cancer before it spreads and also if it is at high risk for spreading.
A test that is commonly used for prostate screening is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This is a substance that your prostate creates. The test will measure the amount of PSA in your blood. If your PSA levels are high, you may have prostate cancer. However, high PSA levels do not confirm that you have prostate cancer because your PSA levels may be high for other reasons.
Talk to your doctor about getting a PSA test and its possible benefits and harms.
PSA Testing Benefits
Knowing your PSA levels can help your doctor to determine if you are at risk for prostate cancer. Testing your PSA levels can help you find prostate cancer early on and make treatment easier. Finding cancer early can also help save your life.
The Harms of PSA Testing
PSA testing isn’t a surefire way of testing for prostate cancer. High levels of PSA can be the first sign of prostate cancer, but these results may also be a sign of something much less serious. An enlarged prostate (benign prostate hyperplasia) is the most common condition of elevated PSA levels. Prostate inflammation/infection or trauma can be another cause. Ejaculation 24 hours before a PSA test may even cause an elevated test result.
Prostatitis is the most common prostate problem in men younger than 50. Bacteria cause prostatitis and it can be treated with antibiotics.
Your Body Changes
It’s important to keep up with your body’s changes. The changes that your body may be going through may be signs of prostate cancer. Difficulty urinating, pain or burning while urinating, or weak or interrupted flow of urine may be your body’s signal. It is encouraged that men talk to their doctor about the changes that go on in their bodies.
Most men over 65 test positive for prostate cancer. Autopsy studies have found trace evidence of prostate cancer in men at death, even though they may not have died from cancer. If you get screened for cancer and the doctor finds a slow-growing cancer, some men may decide to get cancer tests and treatments that are unnecessary and too early on.
Getting treatments and tests too early may have serious side effects. It’s best to try and avoid unnecessary cancer testing. Some PSA tests can come back with a false positive; this happens when a man has an abnormal PSA test. This abnormal PSA test does not mean cancer.
If you receive a positive PSA test result, you may be sent in for a biopsy to see if the PSA test came back positive because of prostate cancer. A biopsy will remove a small piece of tissue from the prostate and then will examine it under a microscope. Prostate biopsies may cause pain, infection or blood in semen or ejaculate.
Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care
Since there are so many things to consider, it may be hard to decide to get screened for prostate cancer or to wait until you experience symptoms. Talking with your doctor or an oncologist about your options is crucial. Our oncologists at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care are here to help. If you have any questions about prostate screening, contact us today.