Prostate Cancer Tests

Written by Amy Hall
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Prostate cancer tests can mean the difference between living to a ripe old age and having your life cut short by cancer. Cancer can be curable if and only if it is caught early enough to stop metastasis to other organs. Once cancer invades the bones, lungs, liver, and blood, it can be very difficult to eradicate completely.

Fortunately, prostate cancer screening is highly effective at determining if cancer is present even before symptoms are present. Men are encouraged to start getting tested annually starting at age 40 (sooner if prostate cancer is part of the family history). When you visit your doctor, you will likely be given two tests, the digital rectal exam and the prostate-specific antigen test, which tests for elevated levels of this enzyme in the blood.

Sometimes patients will receive false positive results because a growth is detected that is not malignant. However, doctors will want to pursue further testing and perhaps do a biopsy of the growth to determine what they are dealing with in terms of prostate disease. Benign growths are common, and in most cases no treatment is necessary, though doctors will want to keep a close eye on the growth to make sure it does not become malignant.

What You Can Do

Even if your prostate tests reveal no cancer, there are steps you can take to keep it that way. First, the importance of diet and exercise cannot be stressed enough. If possible, try to limit or even eliminate red meats from your diet, and keep dairy and egg consumption to a minimum. Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, and try to maintain an exercise routine that gets you moving at least five days per week. Obesity is believed to be a risk factor for developing prostate cancer.

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