The PSA Test
Research suggests that many men with a raised PSA will not have any prostate cancer in their biopsy. On the other hand, some men with prostate cancer will have a normal PSA result.
In addition, prostate cancer has a long dormant phase and this means that cancer cells can exist in the prostate for many years without causing any harm, and sometimes will never cause any harm. Prostate cancer is one of those conditions that older men can die with, but not necessarily from. This is a big potential difference between prostate cancer and many other cancers. However, sometimes prostate cancer can be more aggressive and spread to other parts of the body, especially the bones.
Other conditions that can cause a raised PSA reading include benign enlargement of the prostate (BPH) and inflammation and/or infection of the prostate. Ejaculation can cause a temporary rise in the PSA level, peaking after about an hour and returning to base line after a period of 24 to 48 hours. Therefore, it is recommended not to perform a PSA test if you have an active urinary tract infection or if you have ejaculated in the previous 48 hours.
Research is ongoing as to whether PSA testing should be used to routinely screen every man for prostate cancer. Many medical professionals feel it wrong to introduce national screening in this country because the effectiveness of screening is currently unproven and the side effects of treatment can be significant. At the moment the potential benefits from PSA screening remain unproven and the jury is still out. Two large international trials are currently underway to try to answer this important question. The results of these trials hopefully will provide more clarity around this complex issue. Information is power. By educating yourself about your own bodily functions you are in the best position to appreciate any changes. You have the right to have a PSA test done if you request it. The main thing to understand is that it is not a black and white issue. Discuss any areas of concern with your family doctor. He or she can help you make an informed decision about what is best for your health. Viagra in Australia website www.myviagrainaustralia.com
Further tests on the prostate can be carried out by a specialist in the area (a urologist). These can include:
- An ultrasound scan – a small probe is inserted into the back passage and a scan taken to show the exact size of the prostate gland.
- A prostate biopsy – a small probe can be inserted into the back passage and a tiny sample of prostate tissue can be removed and analysed.
- A bone scan – a scan of the bones can be taken to see if the cancer has spread to the bones near the prostate.