The development and progression of prostate cancer vary among men. Cancer of the prostate develops gradually and don’t cause problems for some, while it can develop and progress more rapidly in others and may lead to severe symptoms, sometimes, death. Because of this, early screening and detection are crucial.
Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer
These tests are administered for detecting cancer of the prostate:
- DRE or Digital Rectal Exam: Your doctor will use his gloved finger for examining your rectum to see if he can feel a growth or lump in your prostate gland.
- PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen Test: Considered the most common early test to detect cancer of the prostate, this tests your blood’s PSA level. PSA is a protein generated by your cells in your prostate gland. Normally, a higher than normal PSA level is indicative of cancer, but other factors can also result in an elevated PSA level.
Diagnostic Tests for Prostate Cancer
- Prostate Biopsy: If your doctor suspects cancer, biopsy, in which a tissue sample from your tumour will be obtained and tested. A computer bone scan of your pelvis will follow for a positive biopsy result so that your doctor can establish the extent of your disease.
- Trans rectal Ultrasound: This test makes use of sound waves for visualising your prostate gland. It is oftentimes conducted while doing a biopsy so that the needles will be guided more accurately into the particular area of your prostate where there’s a suspected tumour.
Further Tests After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
Once you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your PSA level can help in determining its severity. A 20ng/ml or lower reading indicates that your cancer hasn’t affected surrounding sites while a reading that exceeds 40ng/ml indicates that your cancer could’ve spread to surrounding sites. In addition, a positive biopsy result could lead to more tests to assess the extent of metastasis. X-rays and bone scans may be utilised for establishing whether the disease has metastasized to your bones while MRI or magnetic resonance imaging and CT or computed tomography scans could identify the exact cancer location.