Types Of Prostate Cancer Tests: What You Need To Know

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In fact, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. While many cases of prostate cancer are not aggressive and may not require treatment, it is important to get tested so that any necessary treatment can be started as soon as possible. 

Discover two different types of tests that can be used to diagnose prostate cancer. Your doctor will likely recommend one or more of these tests based on your age, risk factors, and symptoms.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

The PSA test is a screening test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. This antigen is a protein that the prostate gland produces. The PSA test is performed by drawing blood from a vein in the arm. The blood is then sent to a laboratory to be analyzed.  

The PSA test is usually performed as part of a routine physical examination. A high PSA amount might be a sign of prostate cancer. If this is the case, further testing, such as a biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

However, the PSA test is not always accurate. A high PSA level can also be caused by other conditions, such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate.

A PSA test is not always necessary. Your doctor may recommend a PSA test if you are a man over the age of 50 or if you have an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

A digital rectal exam (DRE) is basically a physical examination of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a small gland (the size of a walnut) located near the rectum.

During a DRE, the doctor inserts a gloved finger with sufficient lubrication into the rectum. The doctor will then feel the prostate gland for any lumps or other abnormalities. Usually, an abnormal DRE indicates the need for further testing.

The DRE can help to detect early signs of prostate cancer, which is why it is important for men to have this test performed if they experience symptoms such as difficulty urinating.

Although the DRE can be uncomfortable, it is a quick and relatively simple way to screen for this potentially deadly disease.

Treatment for prostate cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or hormone therapy. The decision about which treatment to undergo will depend on several factors, including the stage and grade of the tumor, as well as the patient's age and overall health.

Reach out to a clinic like Affinity Health Group to learn more.