Munson Health
 
Screening for Prostate Cancer

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by Zangwill M
 

Screening Tests

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

Using the PSA test as a screening tool is a controversial topic. The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Academy of Family Physicians do not recommend this test due to the potential harms outweighing the benefits. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men talk to their doctors about the benefits and risks of the PSA test. The USPSTF also points out the importance of discussing this screening test with your doctor.
The PSA test measures the levels of PSA in your blood. PSA is a chemical produced in the prostate gland and released into the bloodstream. Prostate cancer, with its overabundance of rapidly dividing prostate cells, tends to increase PSA levels. Unfortunately, an elevation in PSA levels may also occur as a result of other conditions, including:
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy —a very common condition of prostate enlargement in older men
  • Inflammation of the prostate (called prostatitis )
  • Ejaculation—Your doctor may ask you to abstain from sexual activity for two days before the test.
Therefore, if your PSA is elevated, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. Depending on your PSA level, physical exam, and risk factors, your doctor may suggest one of several options, including:
  • Repeating the test at a later date
  • Ordering other tests (eg, free PSA , PSA velocity, and PSA density
  • Doing a biopsy of the prostate gland to determine if cancer is present
 

References


Detailed guide: prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/ProstateCancer/DetailedGuide/. Accessed September 20, 2012.


How did the USPSTF arrive at this recommendation? US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening/prostatecancerfaq.htm. Published May 2012. Accessed July 27, 2012.


Prostate cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate. Accessed September 20, 2012.


Prostate cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 30, 2012. Accessed July 27, 2012.


Screening for prostate cancer: current recommendation. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening.htm. Published May 2012. Accessed July 27, 2012.


4/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Choosing wisely. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 26, 2014. Accessed April 1, 2014.

 

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