Prostate Cancer Prevention: The Lowdown On Screening

08/7/17 3:49 PM

Prostate cancer kills around 30,000 men every year in the USA. As with every health condition, it’s always preferable to prevent rather than cure prostate cancer, but how can this be done and what’s the latest news on screening?

Prostate Cancer Prevention: The Lowdown On ScreeningProstate cancer prevention

With prostate cancer such a common form of cancer in males in the US, it’s no surprise that focus has turned to trying to prevent as many cases as possible. Of course, it’s not always possible to prevent cancer, but it is often possible to increase the chances of diagnosing the disease at an early stage when treatments are much more likely to be effective.

There are many risk factors for prostate cancer, and if you are at risk of developing this form of cancer, it is wise to consider screening tests and preventative measures. You can learn more at or schedule an appointment with your doctor to go through some screening options. You may have a higher than average risk if you have family history of prostate cancer, for example, your father, brother or uncle suffered from prostate cancer, or you are aged over 50. More than 80 percent of cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men over the age of 65 years old.

Screening options and the latest news

There are various tests that can be used to screen for prostate cancer and determine if you have a higher than average risk of developing the disease. There is some debate surrounding prostate cancer screening, and in the US, it’s generally considered ineffective to screen healthy individuals. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) believes that the benefits of screening in this case don’t outweigh the negatives and their claims are based on research published in the BMJ Group journal. According to research, screening wouldn’t impact healthy men in a positive way, and it may even lead to men undergoing treatment unnecessarily.

In some cases, screening can be highly effective, especially when an individual has a high risk of developing prostate cancer, and annual checks may be recommended. Tests include digital rectal examinations, which are used to check for physical changes to the prostate gland and PSA tests. Elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels may be indicative of prostate cancer, but there is also a chance that PSA levels could be caused by benign conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. You can read more about PSA testing here

If you are worried about prostate cancer or you’ve developed symptoms linked to this condition, such as urinating more frequently or feeling a sudden urge to urinate, the best advice is to see your doctor. These changes may be part of the aging process in men, and further tests can help to rule out anything more sinister.

Any doctor will tell you that prevention is better than cure. Prostate cancer screening is a controversial subject in the medical field due to the risks associated with testing and potentially treating healthy individuals. However, it is wise to be wary of the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer and to seek advice if you are worried about prostate cancer. Although there are pros and cons, screening can be incredibly beneficial in cases where a patient has early symptoms or their risk of developing the disease is higher than average.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

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