2. Most men don’t have any symptoms
In early stages of prostate cancer men usually experience no significant symptoms. Symptoms usually appear once the cancer is advancing through its stages.
Some commonly experienced symptoms are urination troubles such as incomplete voiding, slow stream and increased frequence, blood in urine (hematuria) and difficulty achieving erection. In very late stages if the cancer has spread to bones, men can experience bone pain in the hip, back and chest.
3. All men should talk to their doctor about screening
The American Urological Association used to insist on regular screening for men over the age of 50 but now the guidelines have changed. Prostate cancer screening is necessary for those who have a strong family history or risk factors such as being an African American. Men should discuss with their primary physician if they need to undergo testing and how often should it be done. The test involves taking a blood sample and checking levels of Prostate-specific antigen. Even though the blood test isn’t huge invasive but it has a high rate of false positives that may lead to unnecessary biopsies to confirm the diagnosis.
Out of the men who have high levels of PSA, only about 1/4th of those actually have prostate cancer. And then the majority of those have a very slow growing type of prostate cancer. Since a better test to check for prostate cancer hasn’t come around, that is why most doctors say it’s best that most men should get tested after 50 and as early as 40 if they have risk factors.
PSA levels may not be a good definitive indicator of prostate cancer but it alerts your physician earlier on in the disease if there’s cause to worry. 4 ng/mL and under is considered normal. If it’s under 2.5 ng/mL then men can wait for 2 years to get tested again. 2.5-4 ng/mL test results will require you to check again in around an years time. On the 2nd check up the levels of your previous tests are correlated and if there’s a 0.7% or more increase, you may have to undergo a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis. Most times it turns out to be Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, a benign condition of the prostate-common in older males.