Can Prostate Cancer Be Found Early
Screening is testing to find cancer in people before they have symptoms. For some types of cancer, screening can help find cancers at an early stage, when they are likely to be easier to treat.
Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing for prostate-specific antigen levels in a mans blood. Another way to find prostate cancer is the digital rectal exam . For a DRE, the doctor puts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland. These tests and the actual process of screening are described in more detail in Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer.
If the results of either of these tests is abnormal, further testing is often done to see if a man has cancer.
What Happens After The Prostate Tests
Urodynamic tests and cystoscopy may cause mild discomfort for a few hours after the procedures. Drinking an 8-ounce glass of water every half-hour for 2 hours may help reduce discomfort. The health care provider may recommend taking a warm bath or holding a warm, damp washcloth over the urethral opening to relieve discomfort. A prostate biopsy may produce pain in the area of the rectum and the perineum, which is between the rectum and the scrotum. A prostate biopsy may also produce blood in urine and semen.
An antibiotic may be prescribed for 1 or 2 days to prevent infection.
Patients with signs of infectionincluding pain, chills, or fevershould call their health care provider immediately.
Psa Testing Is The First Step In Diagnosing And Treating Cancer
In the past, some people have labelled PSA tests as controversial. Thats because the results from a PSA test alone are usually not enough to confirm a cancer diagnosis and, without further testing, could result in unnecessary anxiety.
High levels of PSA can be caused by other benign prostate conditions, like the ones listed above. But as medicine continues to advance, doctors are now able to use several different methods to reach the right diagnosis and prescribe treatment accordingly.
The multi-parametric MRI scan is one such diagnostic tool. It detects suspicious areas in the prostate by looking for structural and functional changes in the prostate cells, based on the fact that cancer cells are aggressive and rapidly dividing. Following the scan, you will be given a score called PI-RADS which ranks the probability of cancer from 1 to 5. Scores of 1 and 2 refer to a low probability of cancer while scores of 4 and 5 means you have an 80% and 90% chance of cancer.
The MRI-ultrasound fusion prostate biopsy is another tool that has been available in Singapore for the past 2 years. In a traditional prostate biopsy, your doctor takes tissue samples at random, which could mean cancerous cells are overlooked the first time. But in a MRI-ultrasound fusion biopsy, your doctor takes a much more targeted approach.
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What Tests Might I Have At The Hospital
If youre given an appointment with a hospital specialist, they may do some of the tests you had at the GP surgery again. You may also have other tests, including the following.
You might be asked to fill in a short questionnaire about your symptoms. This is called the International Prostate Symptom Score and is used to see how bad your symptoms are and how much they are bothering you.
Urine flow test
Youll be asked to urinate into a machine that measures the speed of your urine flow. Men with an enlarged prostate usually have a slower flow than other men. You’ll need a full bladder for the test. The doctor or nurse will tell you how much to drink before you have the test. They may also ask you not to urinate for two to three hours before the test.
This shows how much urine your bladder can hold, and if it is emptying properly. You may have the scan straight after the urine flow test to see how much urine is left in your bladder after you urinate. You may also have an ultrasound scan to look at your kidneys.
How Should I Prepare For The Exam
You should tell your doctor if you have hemorrhoids, anal tears, or other problems with your anus. The exam will be easier if you breathe normally and try to relax.
Before having a PSA test, tell your doctor about any medications and supplements you take. Recent ejaculation can also affect your PSA levels. Ask your doctor if you should abstain from sexual activity before the test.
Your blood must be sent to a laboratory for analysis, so your PSA results wont be available immediately. Your doctor will let you know when they have the results.
The lab report will show the level of PSA in your blood as:
In addition to looking at the amount of PSA in your blood, your doctor will assess how quickly this number is changing. Many things can affect PSA, so test results require careful analysis by an expert. Your doctor will take all of your health information into account.
If you have an abnormal PSA test result, it doesnt mean you have prostate cancer. Most men with a high PSA level dont have prostate cancer. About 25 percent of men who have a biopsy due to a high PSA level have prostate cancer.
Its also possible for men with prostate cancer to have normal DRE and PSA test results.
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What Is A Prostate Cancer Screening Like
A prostate cancer screening can be conducted in one of two ways. The first, a PSA test, is a simple blood draw. The second is a brief rectal exam that takes less than 30 seconds to perform.
For a screening, if a patient comes and asks for a prostate cancer screening, it begins with a blood test, said Ehdaie. Its a small vial of blood, and then a medical history and physical examination. In the physical examination there will be a digital rectal examination in which the physicians finger is inserted into the rectum to feel the prostate.
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How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed
A biopsy is when a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and looked at under a microscope.
A biopsy is a procedure that can be used to diagnose prostate cancer. A biopsy is when a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and looked at under a microscope to see if there are cancer cells.
A Gleason score is determined when the biopsy tissue is looked at under the microscope. If there is a cancer, the score indicates how likely it is to spread. The score ranges from 2 to 10. The lower the score, the less likely it is that the cancer will spread.
A biopsy is the main tool for diagnosing prostate cancer, but a doctor can use other tools to help make sure the biopsy is made in the right place. For example, doctors may use transrectal ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging to help guide the biopsy. With transrectal ultrasound, a probe the size of a finger is inserted into the rectum and high-energy sound waves are bounced off the prostate to create a picture of the prostate called a sonogram. MRI uses magnets and radio waves to produce images on a computer. MRI does not use any radiation.
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What Clinical Trials Are Open
Clinical trials that are currently open and are recruiting can be viewed at www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.
The NIDDK would like to thank:Steven A. Kaplan, M.D., Weill Cornell Medical College Michel A. Pontari, M.D., Temple University School of Medicine
What Is The Psa Test
Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by normal, as well as malignant, cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a mans blood. For this test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter of blood.
The blood level of PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer, and the PSA test was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1986 to monitor the progression of prostate cancer in men who had already been diagnosed with the disease. In 1994, FDA approved the use of the PSA test in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to test asymptomatic men for prostate cancer. Men who report prostate symptoms often undergo PSA testing to help doctors determine the nature of the problem.
In addition to prostate cancer, a number of benign conditions can cause a mans PSA level to rise. The most frequent benign prostate conditions that cause an elevation in PSA level are prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia . There is no evidence that prostatitis or BPH leads to prostate cancer, but it is possible for a man to have one or both of these conditions and to develop prostate cancer as well.
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Screening Tests For Prostate Cancer
Screening is testing to find cancer in people before they have symptoms. Its not clear, however, if the benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the risks for most men. Still, after discussing the pros and cons of screening with their doctors, some men might reasonably choose to be screened.
The screening tests discussed here are used to look for possible signs of prostate cancer. But these tests cant tell for sure if you have cancer. If the result of one of these tests is abnormal, you will probably need a prostate biopsy to know for sure if you have cancer.
Genetic Testing For Some Men With Prostate Cancer
Some doctors now recommend that some men with prostate cancer be tested to look for certain inherited gene changes. This includes men in whom a family cancer syndrome is suspected, as well as men with prostate cancer that has certain high-risk features or that has spread to other parts of the body. Talk to your doctor about the possible pros, cons, and limitations of such testing.
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Should I Have A Psa Test
If you have no symptoms of prostate cancer and are thinking about having a PSA test, you should ask your doctor about the risks and benefits.
While some studies suggest PSA reduces mortality on a population basis, the test picks up large numbers of cancers that would have caused no symptoms or harm in the patient. This is known as overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis of prostate cancer can lead to unnecessary treatments that have side effects such as sexual impotence, urinary incontinence and bowel problems.
It is important to balance the potential benefit of detecting a prostate cancer early against the risk that detection and treatment may not be necessary. Treatment may affect your lifestyle but it may also save your life.
Make your own decision about whether to be tested after a discussion with your doctor. Ensure you get good quality information to make an informed decision.
Screening tests for breast, bowel and cervical cancer can save lives, but there is still confusion around PSA testing for prostate cancer. Find more information here.
Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.
Possible Inaccurate Or Unclear Test Results
As an example, neither the PSA test nor the DRE is 100% accurate. These tests can sometimes have abnormal results even when a man does not have cancer , or normal results even when a man does have cancer . Unclear test results can cause confusion and anxiety. False-positive results can lead some men to get prostate biopsies when they dont have cancer. And false-negative results can give some men a false sense of security even though they might actually have cancer.
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Getting The Results Of The Biopsy
Your biopsy samples will be sent to a lab, where they will be looked at with a microscope to see if they contain cancer cells. Getting the results usually takes at least 1 to 3 days, but it can sometimes take longer. The results might be reported as:
- Positive for cancer: Cancer cells were seen in the biopsy samples.
- Negative for cancer: No cancer cells were seen in the biopsy samples.
- Suspicious: Something abnormal was seen, but it might not be cancer.
If the biopsy is negative
If the prostate biopsy results are negative , and the chance that you have prostate cancer isnt very high based on your PSA level and other tests, you might not need any more tests, other than repeat PSA tests sometime later.
But even if many samples are taken, biopsies can still sometimes miss a cancer if none of the biopsy needles pass through it. This is known as a false-negative result. If your doctor still strongly suspects you have prostate cancer , your doctor might suggest:
- Getting other lab tests to help get a better idea of whether or not you might have prostate cancer. Examples of such tests include the Prostate Health Index , 4Kscore test, PCA3 tests , and ConfirmMDx. These tests are discussed in Whats New in Prostate Cancer Research?
- Getting a repeat prostate biopsy. This might include getting additional samples of parts of the prostate not biopsied the first time, or using imaging tests such as MRI to look more closely for abnormal areas to target.
Prostate cancer grade
Imaging Tests For Prostate Cancer
Imaging tests use x-rays, magnetic fields, sound waves, or radioactive substances to create pictures of the inside of your body. One or more imaging tests might be used:
- To look for cancer in the prostate
- To help the doctor see the prostate during certain procedures
- To look for spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body
Which tests you might need will depend on the situation. For example, a prostate biopsy is typically done with transrectal ultrasound and/or MRI to help guide the biopsy. If you are found to have prostate cancer, you might need imaging tests of other parts of your body to look for possible cancer spread.
The imaging tests used most often to look for prostate cancer spread include:
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What Symptoms Should I Look Out For
If your cancer does come back, the first sign is likely to be a rise in your PSA level, rather than any symptoms. And problems will often be side effects of treatment rather than a sign that your cancer has come back.
However, its important to let your doctor or nurse know if you do get any new symptoms or side effects, or are worried that your cancer might have come back. If your cancer has come back and has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, it can cause symptoms, such as extreme tiredness rel=nofollow> fatigue), bone pain and problems urinating.
Your doctor or nurse can help find out what might be causing your symptoms and help you manage any side effects. They can also look at your PSA level and do other tests to see whether or not your cancer might have come back.
What other tests might I have?
If your doctor or nurse is concerned about your PSA level or if you have new symptoms that suggest your cancer might have come back, they may recommend that you have some other tests, such as a prostate biopsy, MRI scan, CT scan, bone scan or PET scan.
Your doctor or nurse will explain these tests to you if you need them, or you can get in touch with our Specialist Nurses for more information.
Deciding If You Need A Prostate Screening
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How Is A Digital Rectal Exam Performed
A DRE is a physical exam of the prostate. The health care provider will ask the patient to bend over a table or lie on his side while holding his knees close to his chest. The health care provider slides a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the part of the prostate that lies next to it. The DRE may be slightly uncomfortable, but it is brief. This exam reveals whether the prostate has any abnormalities that require more testing. If an infection is suspected, the health care provider might massage the prostate during the DRE to obtain fluid to examine with a microscope. This exam is usually done first. Many health care providers perform a DRE as part of a routine physical exam for men age 50 or older, some even at age 40, whether or not the man has urinary problems.