Should I Be Tested for Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer among men, with skin cancer as the most prevalent. Early detection and diagnosis are crucial for getting the necessary treatment before the disease progresses. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, but certain factors such as age, race, family history, among other things can impact your risk. So, who should be screened for prostate cancer?

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs in the small gland in the male reproductive system that handles urination and ejaculation. One of the most common forms of cancer in men, prostate cancer can be dangerous if not caught soon enough. In its early stages, prostate cancer often doesn’t show any signs or symptoms, which is why early detection through testing is crucial.

When Should I Be Screened for Prostate Cancer?

According to recommendations from the American Cancer Society and Centers for Disease Control, men should be tested for prostate cancer from ages 50 to 59. Those who are at a higher risk of prostate cancer should be screened from ages 40 to 70.

What Could Increase My Risk of Prostate Cancer?

A man’s age, race/ethnicity, and other factors can impact your risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is more common among African American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry. While family history can contribute to the risk of developing prostate cancer, most cases occur in individuals who have no family history of the disease. Even still, according to the American Cancer Society, having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease. Age is certainly a factor to consider as prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the risk escalates rapidly after a man turns 50. About 60 percent of all prostate cancers’ cases are found in men older than 65. Talk to a trusted medical provider about your medical history to better understand your unique risk factors.

How Do You Screen for Prostate Cancer?

A PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test is primarily used for early detection of prostate cancer. This simple blood draw will measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by tissue in the prostate. While this initial test is not perfect (resulting in only 50-40% accuracy), high levels of PSA are an indicator of prostate cancer. If your PSA levels indicate the possibility of prostate cancer, your doctor will probably do further testing to determine whether or not you may have prostate cancer. Additional testing could involve checking your biomarkers, an MRI, a digital rectal exam, or a prostate biopsy, depending on what your doctor deems necessary. If the results from the prostate cancer test come back positive, your doctors will initiate a shared decision-making process. This involves a full discussion with you and your family about the best approach for treatment.

Why is Prostate Cancer Early Detection Important

Early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. Like many forms of cancer, if caught early enough, prostate cancer can be treated and cured. Unlike other forms of aggressive cancers like pancreatic cancer, the mortality rates of prostate cancer are greatly reduced when caught early. For every 1,000 patients screened, one life is saved.

“Especially in the Hampton Roads area, prostate cancer is very prevalent,” said Urologist Ifeanyi J. Ani, MD of TPMG Urology in Newport News. There is both a high incidence of prostate cancer and high mortality rate from prostate cancer in Hampton Roads, so it’s very important for men within the age range to get tested.

The first step for early detection of prostate cancer is having a conversation with your primary care provider. They’ll be able to discuss your unique health risks and how you can better protect yourself.

Ifeanyi Ani

Ifeanyi J. Ani, MD

Ifeanyi J. Ani, MD, is a certified Urologist with TPMG Urology in Newport News. He is highly skilled at treating a variety of conditions including urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), kidney stones, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and urinary stricture disease. In addition to his in-office care, Dr. Ani is experienced in minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic surgeries for benign and oncological diseases. He finds the field of urology to be particularly fascinating for its use of new technology such as the DaVinci Robot for minimally invasive surgery.

Dr. Ani joined TPMG Newport News Urology in 2014.

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