Prostate cancer screening could help in early diagnosis of the disease. Just like other forms of cancer, prostate cancer could be treated when diagnosed at an early stage.
Prostate cancer screening
The symptoms of prostate cancer appear when the disease reaches an advanced stage, after the cancer cells had invaded the healthy tissues in the neighborhood of the original site of the disease.
Cancer screening helps to detect the disease before the symptoms develop. It helps to detect early cancerous or pre-cancerous cells in the prostate gland.
Digital rectal exam
In this prostate test, the doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger in the rectum to feel the presence of lumps or any other abnormality in the prostate gland.
Prostate specific antigen test
Prostate specific antigen is a protein produced by the prostate gland. In people with prostate cancer, the prostate specific antigen level in the blood is higher than normal.
However, men with benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostate and prostate infections might have elevated prostate specific antigen levels. If the prostate specific antigen level is higher than normal, a prostate biopsy might be recommended for detecting presence of cancer cells in the prostate gland.
Who needs prostate cancer screening?
Prostate test is usually recommended for men above 49 years of age. The tests are especially recommended for men with a family history of prostate cancer.
In an Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital study, scientists have suggested prostate cancer screening for men with a family history of ovarian and breast cancers. Health experts believe that genetic factors could increase the risk of prostate cancer. Men carrying BRCA gene mutants are more likely to develop cancers.
BRCA gene mutations are common in men with a strong family history of cancers of the breast and ovary. To detect presence of BRCA gene mutants, men above 45 could ask for a genetic test. Prostate cancer screening is also recommended for obese men and heavy drinkers.
Often ethnicity of a person might affect his chances of developing prostate cancer. Frequent prostate tests are recommended for men of African origin. Studies have shown that black men have a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer.