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Understanding Prostate Cancer Screening

8:11 AM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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Prostate cancer will affect one in every six men this year.  That's nearly 8,000 men in Georgia.  It is the most common cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer.  Unfortunately, it's not a health topic that men like to discuss, or even think about.

Early detection is key in successfully treating many cancers.  For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, new research and improved treatment plans are yielding better outcomes and enabling patients to continue enjoying active, productive lives.

Prostate cancer screening
Typical prostate screenings include a rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.  If a suspicious lump or area is found during the rectal exam, or if a PSA test reveals higher-than-normal results, a biopsy of the prostate may be performed to confirm if cancer is present.

To screen or not to screen
In 2011, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), released recommendations discouraging the use of routine PSA testing for prostate cancer, asserting that the PSA blood test often produces false-positive results which lead to over treatment and negative psychological side effects.

Northside Hospital, however, agrees with prostate cancer screening guidelines established by the American Urological Association - that the PSA test is important in diagnosing prostate cancer at an early, more treatable stage in the course of the disease.

Avoid confusion by seeking guidance from the physician who knows you best, and talk about if screening for prostate cancer is right for you.

Starting the discussion
Men, at average risk for developing prostate cancer, should begin these talks at age 50.  Talks should begin at age 45 for men at high risk, including African-American men and men with a first-degree relative (father, brother, son), who was diagnosed younger than age 65.  Men, who have several first-degree relatives, who had prostate cancer at an early age, should discuss the pros and cons of early screening with their physician, beginning at age 40.

Available treatment options
Every case of prostate cancer is unique.  Determining the most appropriate type of treatment depends upon a number of factors including the patient's age, general health status, disease progression (Gleason score) and others.  Options include taking a "watchful-waiting approach," surgery, radiation and hormone therapy.  In most cases, prostate cancer grows very slowly, allowing men diagnosed with the disease time to consider all available treatment options.

Click here for more information from Northside Hospital.


 

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