Screening For Prostatic Cancer: New Guidelines

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The new screening guidelines for prostate cancer from The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men should make an informed decision with their healthcare provider like Urologist in South City Hospital, about getting screened for prostate cancer. Read on to know more about screening guidelines for prostatic cancer:

What is Prostate?

Prostate is the organ which is part of the male reproductive system, located just below the bladder, that contributes to semen formation. As the man ages, the prostate grows in size and causes symptoms. Prostate is prone to developing uncontrolled cell growth and cancer.

What Are The Symptoms Of Prostatic Cancer?

Prostate cancer often presents with:

  • Difficulty in starting urination
  • Pain during urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Weak stream of urine
  • Painful ejaculation

Who Is At Risk Of Prostate Cancer?

All men are at risk of prostate cancer but the biggest risk factor for prostate cancer is: age. In America, 13 out of every 100 men will get prostate cancer and 3 out of these will die of it. Apart from age, the other risk factors include: positive family history, which means first degree relatives (father, brother or son) with prostate cancer, previous diagnosis of prostate cancer at a younger age, and ethnicity. The risk of prostate cancer is higher in certain races, such as people of color.

What Is Screening For Prostate Cancer?

The goal of screening is to detect the cancer before it spreads to the rest of the body and to start treatment as soon as possible. The two tests commonly used for screening are: serum prostate specific antigen test (PSA) and digital rectal examination (DRE).

Evidence suggests that screening with PSA can reduce the number of deaths from prostate cancer.

Screening Between Ages 40 and 54

Toward a New Staging System for Prostate Cancer, and Why it Matters

The general guidelines recommend starting PSA screening at 55 years of age; however, early screening can be started if:

  • There is a first degree relative with history of prostate cancer
  • History of at least two extended family members with prostate cancer
  • Ethnicity with greater risk of cancer

Men in this age group should have a baseline PSA, and if the level is higher than 3 ng/ml, the healthcare provider would consider prostate biopsy. If the range is towards normal-high, the test should be repeated every two to four years.

Screening Between Ages 55 and 69

This is the age range that benefits the most from screening. This is because the odds of getting prostate cancer are highest during this age group and the treatment benefits outweigh the risks.

Screening Between Ages 71 and 75

For this age group, whether or not to have the PSA is the decision of the healthcare provider. This decision is based on the baseline PSA levels and the overall health of the man. How often one should get re-tested depends on the age, result of the initial PSA test and the overall health of the patient.

Screening for Men Aged 76 and Above

Screening with PSA is not recommended for this age group, and a high PSA does not warrant prostate biopsy. In case the PSA comes back high, the healthcare provider will keep a watch and investigate for reasons other than cancer that could explain the high levels.

Interpreting PSA Ranges

The interpretation of the PSA testing by experts like Urologist in Hashmanis Hospital is based on the age of the patient and the size of the prostate. For men between the ages of 40 and 50 years, the median range of PSA is 0.6 to 0.7 ng/ml; a score greater than 2.5 ng/ml is considered abnormal for this age group. For men in their 60s, PSA score greater than 4.0 ng/ml is considered abnormal.