You may be wondering if you should be tested for prostate cancer with a blood test. As with all types of malignancies, the earlier a carcinoma is detected, the better chance you have of nipping it in the bud. If you’re wondering what the tests entail, you’re not alone. There are various tests to look for various types of tumors and carcinomas. For example, breast tumors are often spotted through mammography. Cervical and vaginal malignancies are caught during PAP tests and physical exams. For prostates, the best tests are a PSA screen and a physical exam.
PSA testing involves looking for specific antigens in a man’s blood. This, coupled with a digital rectal examination, often bring reliable answers to the question, “Do I have prostate cancer?” However, this test isn’t recommended for everyone and can sometimes give misleading results. This is always a personal decision and one that is made most intelligently with the guidance of one’s doctor.
The men who are most likely to benefit from a PSA screening are males over the age of forty and under the age of seventy-five. The information that the blood test is looking for is the presence of a specific protein. Although having a certain amount of the protein is normal, the excess or lack of it will tell the story. If the measurement number for your body’s production of this protein is high, this can be a red flag. It doesn’t always mean you have prostate cancer, however. In addition to taking this test, your physician will also take various details into consideration such as how old you are, how large your glands are, any medicines you’re taking, and how fast the levels are increasing.
False positives happen and this is one drawback to the results acquired from PSA screenings. Sometimes men get reports of elevated levels only to find out they are fine. In fact, only one in four males who learn they have elevated readings of the protein actually has prostate cancer. For those men with false positives, the situation can create a period of extreme worry as further testing is administered. Some reasons for false positives include having an infection, faulty lab results, having an oversized gland, recent amount of sexual activity, and even riding bikes excessively. Yes, that’s right – the seat on a bicycle can put pressure on the groin, causing a skewed result on a PSA test.
If you are trying to decide whether you should be tested for prostate cancer using the PSA screening tool, it would be wise to discuss the situation with your physician. Based on your age, risk factors, and other considerations, it may or may not be a wise move for you. Catching malignancies in the early stages is always advantageous for knocking out the carcinoma.