The decision to get a biopsy of your prostate is a big one. There can be anxiety while awaiting results. Once results are obtained, a cancer diagnosis can carry a heavy weight. These drawbacks are especially concerning when we consider a large number of prostate cancers are slow growing and will not cause death. Notwithstanding, there are some prostate cancers that are aggressive and deadly. Therefore, a prostate biopsy becomes an important means to identify and separate slow growing cancers for aggressive ones. Lest find out more about when you should consider getting a biopsy of your prostate.
You have decided to get a PSA blood test and it is higher than expected. The test is repeated, and remains elevated. When you look at you PSA blood test year over year, it has increased with time. You have a discuss with your primary care doctor and it is their recommendation that you consider a biopsy. A referral is placed to a urologist. Yet, before seeing the urologist you ask yourself: “should I consider an MRI of my prostate before undergoing a biopsy?” The answer in most case is “yes.” Let’s find out why.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and in the United States. About 1,600,000 men worldwide, and 165,00 men in the United States, are affected by prostate cancer each year. Typically, a blood called a PSA, or Prostate Specific Antigen, is used to screen for prostate cancer. The chances of being affected by prostate cancer increases as men get older. Therefore, it is important to know the right time to be screened for prostate cancer. With this in mind, the timing of prostate cancer screening depends of whether a man is considered an average or high risk for this disease. Let’s find out more about the when one should be screened for prostate cancer.
When you go to your doctor for a yearly visit, you may be offered a blood test to search for prostate cancer. This blood test is called a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Nowadays, some professional societies recommend against using digital rectal exam to search for prostate for cancer. We have found the blood test is more helpful than using our finger to find cancer in average risk men, but the blood test is not perfect either. When receiving your test results, it is not enough to know if you test was “positive” or “negative.” You need to know your number. There are 3 different cut offs you should remember when looking at your PSA results.
There are a number of ways to detect prostate cancer. Traditionally, a doctor would attempt to feel the prostate gland with their finger. This is called a digital rectal exam, or a DRE. With time, it become apparent that this was not a perfect test for a number of reasons. Presently, we screen for prostate cancer with a blood test called a Prostate Specific Antigen, or a PSA. This test also has its limitations. Let’s find out more about how to look for prostate cancer with these two methods.