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Screening for Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a component of the male reproductive tract – it is a small walnut-sized gland that surrounds the urethra – the tube passing through the penis, which empties urine from the bladder.

Prostate cancer is a disease in which the cells of the organ grow uncontrollably, causing it to enlarge abnormally. It is the most common cancer in men; it is common in men above the age of 60.

Some of the signs of symptoms of prostate cancer include;

  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Pain on urinating.
  • Weak urine stream
  • Bloody urine
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent urination

Who is at risk of prostate cancer?

All men are at risk of prostate cancer; however, some men have a higher risk than others.

Africans and African-American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than other men. In addition, these groups of men have a higher risk of developing a severe type of prostate cancer than other men.

You are at high risk of prostate cancer if you have a father, son, or brother who has or had the disease.

Screening for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer screening is done to check if you have the disease before the symptoms show up. The benefit of this it to begin early treatment to avoid complications, such as spreading of the cancer cells to other organs.

Screening for prostate cancer is done with a test called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. PSA is a substance produced by the cells of the prostate.

If you have prostate cancer, the amount of PSA in your blood is usually much higher than normal. However, it could be high in other conditions, including prostate infection, non-cancerous prostate enlargement, and with use of certain medications.

If your blood PSA levels are high, your doctor would recommend a prostate biopsy to confirm or exclude prostate cancer.

Who should go for prostate cancer screening?

  • Men above 55 years, who are at average to high risk of prostate cancer.
  • Men in the above category, who do not have symptoms of prostate cancer and have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • Men who are 70 years old or older should not undergo routine screening for prostate cancer.
  • Speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening before undergoing it.

For every 1,000 men between the ages of 55 and 69 years old screened for prostate cancer, about 1 death is prevented and 3 complicated prostate cancer is prevented. Some men have prostate cancer but do not show symptoms. Without screening, they may not know they have the disease.

 

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