Sunday, April 14, 2024

How can I know if I got prostate cancer? A pee doctor tells you

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Checking for prostate cancer early is really important in my work. The American Cancer Society thinks there will be nearly 300,000 new prostate cancer cases and about 35,000 deaths in 2024.

One key tool in finding and treating this common cancer is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. It’s a simple blood test that gives important information about prostate health. By the time men turn 50, they should get this test every year. If you have family history, risk factors, or if you’re Black, you might need to start at 40.

What is the PSA test?
The PSA test is crucial for finding prostate cancer early. When used with other tests and check-ups, it helps identify prostate cancer in its early stages. This is when treatment with surgery or radiation has the best chance of success.

It’s especially important for high-risk people, like those with family history or who are older. The PSA test is also vital for the average guy during his yearly checkup.

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What affects PSA levels?
Things like a big prostate, recent sex, or prostate infections can make PSA levels go up. This might cause unnecessary worry. But by looking at these factors along with the PSA test, doctors can give better advice and avoid unnecessary treatments.

Prostate-specific antigen testing has gone beyond the usual methods. New urine and blood tests, along with better imaging, can find specific genetic signs linked to prostate cancer. This helps understand each patient’s risk better.

When these new tests work with the regular PSA test, doctors get a fuller picture of a person’s prostate health and cancer risk. Combining these tests with the first PSA can help decide who might need more checks, like a prostate biopsy.

Prostate MRI tech gives a super clear look at the prostate gland, helping find possible cancer spots. These hotspots are targeted using MRI fusion during a biopsy. This tool helps spot cancer more accurately.

Extra tests like these can up our chances of finding prostate cancer early, leading to better and personalized treatments.

For Black men, new rules suggest starting PSA tests at 40-45, instead of later. Tests should be done regularly, maybe every year, until at least 70. This change is to help Black men, who have a higher risk of getting and dying from prostate cancer.

Studies show that starting PSA tests earlier for Black men could cut prostate cancer deaths by about 30%, without causing more wrong diagnoses. This highlights the need for special testing for high-risk groups, like Black men.

For all men, the PSA test is crucial. It helps find cancer early and improves outcomes. Staying updated on screening rules and knowing your own risks is key. By taking charge of your health and talking openly with your doctor, you can help lower the impact of prostate cancer in our communities.

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