Prostate Cancer - Exams and Tests
Screening for prostate cancer-checking for signs
of the disease when there are no symptoms-often is done with the digital rectal exam
and the PSA test. The number of deaths caused by prostate cancer has
dropped over the past 20 years. This has been linked to more early diagnosis
with PSA testing and to better cancer treatment.
But it is not yet known if PSA testing actually saves lives or if the benefits of having PSA screening are worth the harms of follow-up tests and cancer treatments.
Prostate Cancer Screening: Should I Have a PSA Test?
Finding prostate cancer early leads you to some
big decisions. Most prostate cancer grows slowly. And the side effects of
treatment can change your quality of life-mainly not being able to have an
erection (impotence) and not being able to control urination (incontinence). If you are an older man with serious health problems or close to the end of your life, these side effects may seem worse than
early-stage cancer that may not grow much during your lifetime.
Because your age and medical
history are unique, learn the pros and cons of PSA testing
and talk to your doctor before making a decision.
What to think about
There were about 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer in
the United States in 2009.1 About 17 out of 100 men living in the United States will get prostate cancer. Out of these 17 men, 3 will die of prostate cancer. This means that 97 out of 100 men will die from something other than prostate cancer.2