Identifying cancer in its earlier stages can significantly increase our ability to fight it before it’s too late. There are several benefits, as well as risks, when deciding to go through a prostate cancer screening. Our team at The Y Factor Men’s Urological Wellness, led and founded by Dr. Russel Williams, can walk you through everything you need to know about prostate cancer screenings.
Our team recommends all men should begin to get prostate cancer screenings if they’re over 50. At this age, many men develop a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.
You don’t need a prostate screening if you’re younger, but you should get the Annual Urological Wellness Exam when you reach the age of 20.
You shouldn’t wait to experience symptoms of prostate cancer. In many cases, patients who have prostate cancer don’t develop any symptoms early on. Early detection is key to treating prostate cancer.
The PSA exam
After we review your medical history, one of the first tests we perform is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland, and it’s mostly found in semen and blood.
The exam measures the level of PSA produced by your prostate gland because the chance of prostate cancer increases as PSA production increases. This kind of exam isn’t precise, since there is no clear level that indicates prostate cancer.The scale we use is from 1 to 10 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter). Generally, we like to consider 4 ng/mL as our cut off; most men without prostate cancer have a PSA level less than 4 ng/mL.
Most men who have prostate cancer see their PSA level rise above 4 ng/mL; however, you may still have prostate cancer if your PSA level is lower. This is why we must administer another exam called a prostate biopsy to ensure accurate results.
Reasons why your PSA levels are misleading
A PSA exam can be inaccurate because several factors can affect PSA levels. If your PSA levels are high, it may be due to:
- An enlarged prostate
- Older age
- Prostatitis (infection of the prostate gland)
- Riding a bicycle
- Other urological procedures
- Hormones that raise testosterone levels
Many men may benefit from getting a prostate biopsy. This procedure requires us to take a small sample of the prostate tissue and examine it under a microscope. This test is a surefire way to detect prostate cancer in men. If you do have cancer, this test also lets us know how quickly the cancer will spread.
For a consultation with The Y-Factor Men’s Urological Wellness team about a prostate cancer screening, call one of our offices.