What to Expect From a Prostate Cancer Test

Prostate cancer is a dreaded word among men and their loved ones. It is a sad reality that prostate cancer is a common cancer detected in men which is reminiscent of breast cancer with respect to its risk factors, which may sometimes be determined by a family history of this illness in immediate relatives. While there are certain symptoms that hint toward the onset or development of this illness, only a clinical test will be able to actually diagnose it. Yet what can you expect from such a test?

While the manual prostate cancer test is a good first indicator of any problems that might be developing, only a prostatic specific antigen test will be able to totally confirm or deny the existence of cancerous cells in the prostate.  The prostatic specific antigen is nothing more than a measurable protein that is contained within a patient's blood.  If your blood work reveals that you have high levels of this substance in your blood, there is a chance that another prostate cancer test is indicated, since elevated levels tend to point toward tumors, benign or otherwise.

Of course, it is important to note that even though tumors may be indicated by this test, it does not reveal the severity of the growth, whether or not it is benign or malignant, and the extend to which it may have spread. Nonetheless, if you are a male fifty years of age or above, you should make sure to keep in the forefront of your mind the danger of prostate cancer; test early and do not put off the appointments!

Granted, a prostate cancer test is not a lot of fun, after all the manual rectal exam is enough to make anyone cringe.  Yet if you consider that the antigen test in combination to this rather tactile experience will permit for the earliest possible detection of a problem, even before other symptoms may arise in some men, it is well worth the discomfort. It is only natural for many a man to hesitate before undergoing such a somewhat invasive exam.  They may feel fine, have no symptoms, and after all, they may consider themselves to be a young fifty, fifty-five, or sixty.  Yet just like most diseases cannot be readily detected by simply a visual exam of a person, the same may be said for this illness.  It is therefore somewhat surprising that some physicians are reluctant to encourage men over fifty years of age to seek after consistent testing.  Perhaps belonging to the school of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it", they might feel that undergoing such consistent testing is adding too much pressure and worry onto men who should be enjoying the imminent golden years of life.

Which is the correct decision to make?  As you may well imagine, it is imperative to have all the information, and thus a prostate cancer test should be taken before the onset of any symptoms that might hint at a problem.  Thus, if you are a man of at least fifty years of age or older, if you have close male relatives suffering from prostate cancer, if your diet includes animal fat, or if you are of African American descent, your chances of developing this disease have just gone up. Don't be intimidated by the possibility of a positive test, but instead consider it your first step on the road to recovery.  After all, elevated antigen levels do not always mean the worst, sometimes they simply point to a benign tumor, perhaps an undetected infection that simply needs an antibiotics treatments, or some other ailment that has caused your blood chemistry to be slightly unbalanced.  Odds are the test will not indicate anything terrible and it is well worth the peace of mind of knowing once and for all what you are dealing with.  Similarly, if worse does come to absolute worst, you will be in the best position to fight the cancer head on.

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