Prostate Cancer Detection
Early detection is one of the best ways to combat cancer. Catching cancer in its earliest stages gives you the best chances of successfully treating it. Checking for cancer (or for conditions that may lead to cancer) in people who have no symptoms is called "screening."
Nationally, prostate cancer screening recommendations are in flux. Alta Bates Summit Medical physicians typically recommend men should have a base line prostate screening, including both a blood test and medical examination, beginning at age 50. Men in high risk groups, African American men or men with family history of prostate cancer, should a have a base line screening beginning at an earlier age. Please talk to your physician to find out when you should be screened for prostate cancer.
Current screening methods for prostate cancer include:
- PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) Testing – A simple blood test where the PSA substance is measured against established norms.
- DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) – A physical examination where a physician inserts a gloved lubricated finger into the rectum of a patient to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate that might be cancer. This exam can sometimes find cancers in men with normal PSA levels. This is why the American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that when prostate cancer screening is done, both the DRE and PSA blood test should be used.
- TRUS (Transrectal Ultrasound) – This test uses sound waves to make an image of the prostate on a computer screen. For this test, a small probe that gives off sound waves is placed in the rectum. TRUS is usually not recommended as a routine test by itself to detect prostate cancer because it doesn't often show early cancer. For patients that are found to have a suspicious lump on a DRE, or a worrisome PSA level, a TRUS may be recommended, and consideration given to getting a series of biopsies of the prostate. These biopsies would be done to determine if there is any cancer in the prostate gland.
More information is available via Markstein Cancer Education and Prevention Services. Markstein Services is committed to providing the information needed to understand the role that early detection and adoption of risk-reducing lifestyle habits play in both preventing and treating cancer.
Their programs include outreach education initiatives, free community cancer screenings as well as support and educational tools to those impacted by a diagnosis of cancer.
Your doctor's office is one of the best places to keep a regular schedule of annual check-ups and screenings, such as PSA’s and digital rectal exams. To select an Alta Bates Summit physician, use our Find A Doctor search tool.
Find a Prostate Cancer Specialist
Prostate Cancer Care Notebook
View Our Educational Videos:
Read More About the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
Read More About Prostate Biopsy
View Our Current Support Groups, Classes and Workshops (PDF)
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