Prostate Cancer Screening – Some Helpful Tips to Decide About PSA Test
The Prostate Cancer is the disease in which malignant cells or cancerous cells develop in the tissues of prostate gland, which is located in male reproductive system and produces a fluid that protects and nourishes sperm in the semen. It has become the most common cancers among old age men in United States.
Prostate Cancer Screening Tests:
The diagnosis of the disease at an early stage makes the treatment more effective with greater chances of the cure. For the early diagnosis, Prostate Cancer Screening tests are recommended by the doctors because these tests prove helpful in diagnosing the disease at an early stage and reducing the chances of dying from it. The most common tests for Prostate Cancer Screening are Prostate Specific Antigen Test (PSA) and Digital Rectum Exam (DRE). A normal PSA test if combined with DRE strongly gives the assurance that you’re unlikely to have the cancer. But PSA test is not necessary for some men especially those who are 70 or older.
Helpful tips to decide about PSA screening test:
Different medical organizations vary in their views as who should and who should not get PSA screening test. Some organizations have defined guidelines for it while others leave on the discretion of the patient and the doctor. Those organizations that recommend PSA test suggest that men having 40-70 years of age, with an increased risk of developing the disease should get PSA screening. Apart from all these suggestions and recommendations, it is the decision you should take that whether you have a PSA test after discussing with the doctor, as it depends on various factors such as consider all the risk factors and your personal preferences. Here, we give you some tips that really help you to decide about PSA screening test:
What is PSA?
Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein that is made by both cancerous or malignant and non-cancerous or benign tissues of prostate. This protein helps to liquefy the semen and a small amount of it also enters the blood stream.
Usually, Prostate Cancer cells make more PSA than benign cells and so the levels of PSA become high in the blood. But the levels of PSA may also become high in those men who have enlarged prostate or BPH. Therefore it becomes complicated to determine the actual cause of high PSA score in the blood.
Apart from PSA score, the doctor also considers some other factors for evaluation of your PSA scores. These factors include your age, size of prostate gland, how quickly the PSA levels are changing and whether you’re taking those medications that affect PSA levels.
What is false-positive and false-negative result?
When PSA levels are high in the blood, there is a sign of cancer in prostate but there are certain other conditions such as enlarged prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) and prostate infection (Prostatitis) causing rise in the PSA levels. This result which falsely indicates that you have Prostate Cancer while you don’t have is called “false-positive”.
When the cancer in prostate grows quickly it would not produce much PSA in the blood stream. This result which falsely indicates that you don’t have cancer while you do have is called “false-negative”.
Because both these types of results are complex, it is important for you to consult that urologist who is experienced and capable enough to correctly interpret PSA levels and evaluate your situation.
Pros and Cons of PSA screening test:
There are various pros and cons of PSA test, which are given below:
Pros of PSA Test:
- The test helps to detect the disease at an early stage.
- If cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, it is easy to treat and cure it.
- The testing can be simply done with a sample of your blood.
- The test gives some amount of reassurance that either you don’t have cancer or if you do have it then start treating it now.
- Since the PSA test being available, the death rate from cancer in prostate had gone down.
Cons of PSA Test:
- Some cancers grow slow and don’t spread beyond prostate gland. So, the PSA couldn’t enter in blood stream.
- Not all Prostate Cancers need treatment while risks are associated with treatment such as erectile dysfunction.
- The testing can’t be reliable because it may happen that PSA levels elevated when cancer not exists and not elevated when cancer does exist.
- The diagnosis of cancer in prostate can provoke confusion and stress due to the complexity of results.
- Although it lowered the death rate but it doesn’t justify the possibility of harm to person that undergoing the test.
Advantages of PSA screening test:
The elevated levels of PSA help to detect such type of Prostate Cancers that may likely to spread to other parts of the body and also those cancers that grows quickly to cause other problems as well. On diagnosing the cancer, the early treatment plan can be devised which helps to reduce the symptoms to become chronic and to catch it before it becomes life-endangering threat. Moreover, you need less aggressive treatment with early diagnosis and also it reduce the risk of side effects such as Erectile Dysfunction and Urinary Incontinence.
Risk factors associated with PSA screening test:
Most of men may wonder how getting a simple test to detect cancer in prostate through a sample of blood involves any risks. However, there are no side effects of drawing a blood sample but you could experience potential risks on seeing the results of the test. These include:
- When the results are false-positive, you might be worried about what other condition is causing the high levels of PSA instead of cancer.
- The stress you might be taken on knowing that your cancer is growing slowly.
- Decide to have surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other treatments causing side effects.
Risk factors of Prostate Cancer:
If you know the factors that may increase your risk of developing the condition then you can better determine when to start the screening tests. These risk factors include your age, race, family history, obesity and high fat diet.
Consult experienced specialists at Urology Care of Central New Jersey:
After considering the pros and cons of the PSA test, risk factors of developing the disease, your general health and preferences, talk with the doctor. You can consult Dr. Binod K. Sinha who has an experienced urologist and trained specialist in performing advanced tests and exams; also he screened a large number of patients for Prostate Cancer. He tailors a best treatment plan according to individual conditions with personalized care. By consulting Dr. Sinha, you can make the right decision for you.