Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. This disease affects the prostate, the gland located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. This gland helps produce semen and allows for sperm to move more effectively, along with several other functions. The cancer cells develop in the prostate and invade the healthy tissues and multiply at a rate much faster than regular cells.
The Prostate Cancer Screening Procedure
In addition to a physical examination by a physician, the following two tests are commonly performed on men 40-60 years of age and older who have exhibited symptoms of prostate cancer:
Digital Rectal Examination
A digital rectal exam is a tactile examination performed by a healthcare professional that actively feels the lower portion of the rectum to the prostate. Any malformations or growths of the prostate will be evident in normal testing circumstances.
Prostate-Specific Antigen or PSA Blood Test
A PSA test is a special blood test that determines if the individual has elevated levels of PSA in his blood. Normal levels of PSA in men are anywhere between 0-4.0 nanograms per milliliter, while anything above the upper limit of 4.0 is considered a positive test and should be tended to immediately. It is important to note that PSA levels can be increased by other factors such as prostate infection, benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH, and recent ejaculation.
Once the results of these tests are conclusive, a diagnosis will be given to the patient. If the tests are positive for prostate cancer, a comprehensive treatment plan will be created by the physician. When confined to the prostate gland, this disease can usually be treated effectively, making early detection crucial for handling prostate cancer.