WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING
Among men in the United States, prostate cancer is considered the second most common form of these diseases, falling just after skin cancer. More than 10% of men are expected to develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives, with the average diagnosis of the disease being at the age of 66. An estimated 174,650 new prostate cancers will be diagnosed in 2019. It is also estimated that 31,620 men will die from prostate cancer in 2019.
When it comes to a disease like prostate cancer, early detection yields far superior results when it comes to treating the condition. A large number of men are able to overcome the disease successfully, and the chances of survival from prostate cancer greatly increase the sooner the disease is detected in the male patient’s body.
How Does Screen For Prostate Cancer Work?
Cancer often only causes symptoms to develop once cells have started to cause the growth of a tumor, leading to complications in the patient’s body. Prostate cancer screening, or any other type of cancer screening for that matter, is used to assist in the early detection of cancer in a patient’s body. This process can help to detect the presence of cancer cells in the body of the patient even before the disease starts to present symptoms.
The goal of prostate cancer screening is not only to assist in detecting this type of disease early on but also to help reduce the risk of cancer spreading in the patient’s body, which could become a life-threatening condition.
Screening for prostate cancer is initiated with the use of a simple blood test. During this blood test, the physician will order the laboratory to look for prostate-specific antigens in the patient’s blood sample. The process is also known as the prostate-specific antigen test. While some amount of PSA in the patient’s blood is considered normal, an elevation of these antigens in the blood sample may be a cause for concern – as it could be an indication of prostate cancer.
It should, however, be noted that cancer is not the only condition that may have an effect on PSA levels in a male patient’s blood sample. Patients with an enlarged prostate and those who have an infection in their prostate are also likely to have an elevated level of PSA in their blood. There are also some medications that are known to cause PSA levels to become elevated. Furthermore, certain procedures that might have been performed on the patient in the recent past could also cause this problem to arise.
For this reason, a PSA test cannot be used alone to diagnose a patient with prostate cancer. If a physician finds that levels of PSA in the male patient’s blood sample is higher than they should be, then other potential causes first need to be ruled out.
The physician will take a closer look at the medications that the patient is taking. Further tests may be conducted to detect infection or an enlarged prostate. The patient’s medical history may also be taken into account at this point.
If the physician expects that the patient could have prostate cancer, then they will likely order a biopsy. This is a relatively simple procedure where a small piece of the patient’s prostate will be removed. The biopsy sample will then be analyzed underneath a microscope and tested to see if cancerous cells are present in the prostate of the patient.
What Happens Next?
The next step of the process depends on the test results that are provided after researchers have analyzed the biopsy sample that was taken from the patient’s prostate. If they do find that cancerous cells are present in the sample, then the patient will be referred to a specialist.
At this point, further tests may be conducted to determine the severity of prostate cancer. It is also important for the specialist to determine if cancer has spread to any other parts of the patient’s body. The patient will be advised on how severe their cancer is. Additionally, the specialist will also discuss the treatment options that are available with the patient. Both the benefits and potential risks of each treatment option that the patient may undergo will be explained to them in detail – the patient will need to understand how treatments work, what the risks are, and the costs of each option that has been discussed with them.
Once the patient has made a decision in terms of the treatment, they would like to undergo, and the procedure can be booked and initiated. In many cases, the patient may be provided with chemotherapy drugs, which acts to destroy the cancerous cells in their body. Radiotherapy may also be used on the patient’s prostate directly to help shrink the tumor.
These treatments not only focuses on helping to treat cancer but is also required to assist in reducing the risk of cancer spreading and causing more serious complications.
Prostate cancer screening is often a routine part of a physical examination that a male patient may undergo. This process plays an important role in helping a physician detect the presence of cancer in the patient’s prostate at an early stage. With early detection, treatment often yields better results and increases the patient’s chance of survival from the disease. Patients are also advised to understand the symptoms and to have a prostate cancer screening if the symptoms are present.