An additional manner to check for presence of prostate cancer is with a blood test called the prostate-specific antigen test, or PSA test. Gentlemen with presence of prostate cancer may have higher levels of PSA in their blood. Presence of a higher level of PSA in the blood may also be due to other, less serious causes such as infection, however.
Doctors may disagree about the need for screening. The reason that doctors may disagree about the need for screening is that although screening for presence of prostate cancer may find many cases of cancer, screening also finds conditions that are not cancer. This situation means that some gentlemen may have to go through unnecessary tests and worry to make sure that they do not have prostate cancer. In addition to that situation, PSA screening also detects many cases of slower growing cancers that cause little if any problems, and although these cancers can be treated, there is not proof that treatment of these cancers does help gentlemen live any longer than if they do not receive treatment. Additionally, treatment for cancers other than that of prostate cancer may be more damaging than the cancers themselves. Treatment for cancer can cause very serious problems such as incontinence (loss of urine) or impotence (the inability to achieve or maintain an erection).
If you need to make a decision on whether or not to be screened, you must consider two things: one, you must speak with your doctor, and two, you must think about whether or not you really would like to know if you have cancer. Many cases of prostate cancer don’t cause tremendous problems nor shorten a man’s lifespan. In light of those facts, some men would rather not know if they have this type of cancer. If you think you would like to know if you have prostate cancer, then you must consider wether or not you would want to pursue a course of treatment. There are known risks and uncertain benefits of different treatments for prostate cancer.
Known treatments for prostate cancer follow certain rules. There is one option that simply is to watch and wait, meaning leaving the cancer alone and making regular follow up with your doctor so they might track the status of the cancer. This is often a popular option for older men and those with cancers that are growing slowly. Without treatment, these men typically can expect to live as long as men who do not have a diagnosis of prostate cancer. During the watch and wait period, a gentleman may choose to switch to another course of treatment.
Surgery and radiation and medication are other treatment options available to men. If caught early, a diagnosis of prostate cancer means that cure is certainly possible. Surgery or radiation may be utilized to treat more aggressive cancers which are frequently found in middle aged men.