Prostate Cancer Detection

Written by Amy Hall
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Early prostate cancer detection is your very best defense against prostate cancer. The two most commonly used screening methods are the digital rectal exam and the prostate-specific antigen measurement that determines the level of PSA enzymes in the blood. An elevated number could indicate that prostate cancer is already present, or it may merely indicate that the prostate is enlarged and needs to be watched closely.

The only way to determine if a growth is benign or malignant is through a needle biopsy. This procedure can take the guesswork out of figuring out the best plan of action to treat the growth. If it is benign (as it is in many cases), treatment may not be necessary unless the man is experiencing unpleasant symptoms. Such symptoms could include difficulty emptying the bladder, or frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom.

If the growth is malignant, there are a host of options that patients will be presented with by their doctor. Depending on the stage of cancer, treatment could include hormonal therapy, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. For patients with more advanced prostate cancer, the treatment plan usually consists of a combination of therapies, such as surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy.

Early Prostate Cancer Detection

The digital rectal exam and the PSA measurement should be done annually, starting at age 40 for men with no history of cancer in their families. If prostate cancer is present in your family history, you should request these tests as early as age 30-35 for peace of mind. Getting an early diagnosis greatly increases your chances of living a long and healthy life with those you love most.

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