According to statistics, more than 2.5 million men in our country have prostate cancer. Research estimates that as many as 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with this disease at some point. This month being Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we find it the perfect time to discuss what prostate cancer is and what screening involves.
Mutated cells in the walnut-sized prostate gland indicate cancer. The prostate is where the seminal fluid that transports sperm is produced. This gland is located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder. If cancerous cells begin to grow in the prostate gland, a man is not likely to know. Symptoms such as urinary difficulty or blood in the urine typically do not develop until the disease has progressed quite a bit. Because prostate cancer is a leading cause of death among men, screening is vital.
What Prostate Cancer Screening Involves
Many men are aware of the term PSA. This stands for prostate-specific antigen. PSA is a protein that is produced by the cells in the prostate gland. Even a healthy gland will produce a small amount of prostate-specific antigen. In scientific studies, it was found that men who had prostate cancer displayed significantly excessive levels of PSA. However, further investigation into this disease has revealed that some men with prostate cancer do not demonstrate high PSA, and some men with elevated PSA do not have cancerous prostate cells. While PSA may still be a general aspect of screening, it is not by any means a confirmation of cancer.
PSA blood work usually coincides with a digital rectal exam. This manual exam takes only a few minutes in the doctor’s office, and it provides valuable information regarding the size, shape, and texture of the prostate gland.
If an abnormality is discovered during a digital rectal exam or PSA levels are high, further testing may be advised. Prostate ultrasound and biopsy are the two second-level tests that are commonly performed to identify cancerous cells. An ultrasound provides a clear image of the prostate gland, including textural irregularities that may indicate cancerous cells. A biopsy may be the final screening. This test takes a small sample of cells from the prostate for microscopic examination.
Your Texas Urology Specialists can help you navigate the process of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. To learn more about screenings and procedures, call Collin County Urology at (972) 403-5425.This entry was posted in Prostate Cancer. Bookmark the permalink.
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