Prostate cancer screening is testing the men for prostate cancer who don’t show any symptoms. Men who are aged above 50 years, showing prostate enlargement symptoms, having family history of prostate cancer and belonging to African Americans origin are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. They are provided with screening such as PSA test and DRE on a routine basis.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in men after skin cancer. Prostate gland is a small walnut sized gland located between urinary bladder and the tail of the penis in males. It is responsible for producing seminal fluid which carries sperms during ejaculation. Prostate cancer screening is the best way to identify the presence of cancer cells inside the prostate gland before any visible symptoms are seen in the person suffering from it. Early detection or screening of cancer ensures positive response to the cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. General practitioners or urologist keep prostate cancer screening as a part of an annual routine checkup. Various screening test are performed to check the presence or absence of the prostate cancer. But the screening of prostate cancer is still argumentative as it has its pros and cons which we will discuss later in the article.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland when the abnormal cell growth starts to take place in the gland. Abnormal cell growth results in numerous non functioning cells which form tumor inside the gland. This gland is responsible for secreting seminal fluid or prostate fluid i.e. alkaline in nature hence, protecting the sperm from the acidity present in the vaginal tract.
Why is Prostate Cancer screening advised?
- Sometimes, healthy men are also advised screening for the prostate cancer as a part of regular routine checkup even if they don’t have any symptoms after a certain age. It is done so because early detection ensures effective treatment.
- Prostate cancer screening is advised and performed on men who are having symptoms like difficulty in urination, decreased urine flow, loss of bladder control as well as presence of blood in the urine or if there is a history of prostate cancer in their family.
Some of the common symptoms of prostate cancer are as follows:
- Pain at the time of urination
- Presence of blood in the urine
- Reduced flow of urine
- Increased urge of urination during night
- Painful ejaculation
- Feeling of numbness in the areas around the hips and legs.
- Increased bone pain which severe with time
- Sometimes, if the problems are identified in urinary bladder or any other regions, then prostate cancer screening is suggested as the part of diagnosis process to rule out prostate cancer as the cause. These tests may find cancer at an early stage when they’re easier to treat.
- Those who are at higher risk also need to undergo screening tests because 10% - 15% of all the prostate cancers are hereditary in nature.
When Should a Man get Prostate Cancer Screening?
All men have an equal risk of developing the prostate cancer, but over the age, the risk is more. Men’s older than 50 years have higher chances of having prostate cancer rather the men’s who’re below 50 years or younger
- Family Medical History- If an immediate male family member or relative of a man who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before 65, for instance, a brother, son or father, then the chances of the respective man to attract prostate cancer increases to manifold. So, it is essential that if a male member in your family is diagnosed with prostate cancer, then you too need to get active and opt for a prostate cancer screening.
- Age- If an immediate male family member or relative of a man who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before 65, for instance, a brother, son or father, then the chances of the respective man to attract prostate cancer increases to manifold. So, it is essential that if a male member in your family is diagnosed with prostate cancer, then you too need to get active and opt for a prostate cancer screening.
- Age- As the age of the man increases, the chances of the positive detection of prostate cancer also increases. After the man turns 50, he is more subjected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. So, doctors recommend men to opt for regular prostate cancer screening after they enter in the 5th decade of their lives. If more than one male mMen showing prostate cancer symptoms are also screened for prostate cancer.embers of the family are diagnosed with prostate cancer (under 65 years), then a man needs to get prostate cancer screening done once he turns 40 years of age. And, if one close relative is diagnosed with a cancer (under 65 years), then screening for cancer should start at 45 years.
- Diet- A diet high in animal fats is found to be associated with prostate cancer. Our diet needs to balanced with required amount of proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. But, if the consumption of the fats is much more in the diet of a man than the intake of the proteins, then it’s a high time for the man and he needs to get his prostate cancer screening done as soon as possible.
- Males showing symptoms- Racial background is also one of the risk factors, African American men have more chances of developing prostate cancer. They’re advised to undergo prostate cancer screening before they clock in 50 years of age because after 50 years of age there is increased risk of being diagnosed with presence of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer screening Tests
The prostate cancer screening is done using two methods. One is a physical examination test, known as digital rectal examination (DRE) & the other one is the blood sample test, which measures the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) protein in the blood sample. Combination of these tests is utilized to rule out the presence or absence of prostate cancer.
- Digital Rectal Examination is performed by a doctor or urologist in his clinic. After wearing the glove, the doctor inserts one of his finger inside the rectal area to figure out any lumps or irregularity. But the small sized lumps can not detected by this way.
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a blood test which is used to determine the levels of PSA protein in the blood. PSA is a type of protein which is produced by the cells in the prostate gland. If the PSA levels in blood are found to be greater than 4.0 ng/ml then it can be due to prostate cancer. But we can not rely completely on PSA tests because elevated PSA levels can be due to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which prostate gland enlarges and prostate infection also known as prostatitis & trauma.
Sometimes, sexual activity and cycling also results in higher levels of PSA. thus, it’s very common to get false positive and false negative PSA tests. If both tests are positive, then other tests such as transrectal ultrasound & prostate biopsy are needed for further assessments.
Transrectal Ultrasound is an imaging test in which small probe is inserted into the rectum to take the scans of the prostate gland. Abnormal scans are identified and it probably states that abnormality is due to cancerous growth.
Prostate Biopsy is a process in which a prostate sample is taken out guided by transrectal ultrasound. Now, this sample is studied under microscope to check the growth of cancer cells and their grade. Some men may experience bleeding in urine right after the test. You should discuss side effects with your doctor before starting the procedure.
Advantages of prostate cancer screening:
- Prostate cancer screening helps in the diagnosis of the prostate cancer at the right time of the lives.
- This ensures that the men diagnosed with prostate cancer can get treated with the latest and advanced medical treatments as well.
- Men who have aggressive prostate cancer can be treated with the required treatment which can boost the number of years of their lives.
- The prostate cancer screening tests are easy to perform and therefore patients need not get scared before or during the procedure.
Disadvantages of prostate cancer screening:
- A man can have an abnormal PSA test but that does not always mean that the man is affected with the prostate cancer. False positive tests causes anxiety and fear in the person.
- In some cases, prostate cancer screening can lead to the occurrence of infection in the respective individual and bleeding can be seen in the urine as well. In some cases, patients have complaints of pain as well.
- Screening test cost is also very high. If any of the test is false positive, then it further add to the cost.
- Some of the men who have underwent prostate cancer screening have also complained of erectile dysfunction and bowel problems as well.
The choice of getting prostate cancer screening depends on the individual’s choice. Decision should never be taken under pressure. One should get it done after understanding the complete pros and cons of the screening process. If you have any doubts, get FREE second opinion from Elacancer.