PSA Testing and Prostate Cancer Treatments

Prostate Cancer

About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. But while prostate cancer can be a serious disease, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 3.1 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

The key is early detection and knowing your treatment options. Penn Highlands prostate cancer experts can help you get the right care at the right time.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Prostate cancer is most often diagnosed after a patient complains of symptoms or through routine screenings. Your primary care physician will talk with you about the types of screenings available and how often you should get them, based on your individual situation.

Physicians use two types of regular screenings to check for prostate cancer. Both screenings are done in your primary care provider’s office, often during annual checkups. Starting at age 50 for men at average risk of prostate cancer with no symptoms, your physician will most likely begin performing an annual digital rectal exam to check for an enlarged prostate or presence of lumps or other abnormalities.

Also at age 50, your physician will talk to you about the pros and cons of a blood test, called a prostate-specific antigen screening. This test is better known as a PSA screening. PSA looks for elevated levels of the antigen, which can be an indicator of prostate cancer. However, an elevated PSA level is not always indicative of prostate cancer. Other factors, such as age or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate that affects many men as they grow older, can raise PSA levels.

If either test is abnormal, your doctor may want to screen you again now or in a few months. Or you may be referred to a urologist to perform additional tests or a biopsy. If positive, your urologist will talk with you about treatment options.

What Types of Prostate Cancer Treatment Are Offered at Penn Highlands?

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your treatment options will depend on many factors, including your age, overall health, stage of cancer, and risk of side effects.

Many prostate cancers are very slow growing. In fact, there is a common statement that most men will die with prostate cancer but not from prostate cancer. There are now additional molecular tests that can help determine if your prostate cancer is slow or fast growing. If your cancer is slow growing, you are older, and you are not having symptoms, your doctor may recommend “active surveillance.” This means that your doctor will screen you regularly to watch for growth and recommend treatment if the cancer becomes problematic.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 prostate cancers are typically treated with radiation therapy, plus surgery, hormone therapy or both. Surgery to remove the prostate is called prostatectomy. Treatment for prostate cancer that has spread (stage 4) usually includes some combination of radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy to relieve symptoms.

Find a urologist to help diagnose and treat your urology problems.


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