Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer and the second highest cause of cancer-related deaths in American men.
PSA Screening: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a blood test that has been used since the 1980s to evaluate a man’s risk for prostate cancer. Widespread use of this test in the United States has led to increased diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, with modest overall improvement in death rates from prostate cancer. Although many men benefit from early detection of prostate cancer, some men endure treatment for a cancer that would not have been lethal. Guidelines from cancer experts recommend considering PSA screening after a careful discussion of risks and benefits in men:
- Age 55 to 69
- Between age 40 and 54 if there are high risk factors (a family member with prostate cancer or African-American)
- Over age 70 only if excellent health
Diagnosis: In men with an elevated PSA or a prostate nodule on exam, prostate cancer is typically diagnosed with an ultrasound-guided biopsy of the prostate. Other testing is often used to help determine staging and prognosis.
Treatment: Many different treatment options exist, including:
- Active surveillance: observing a low risk cancer with periodic exams, blood work, and repeat biopsies
- Ablation: using newer modalities like cryotherapy and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to kill cancer cells
- Radiation: external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) or implanting radioactive seeds (brachytherapy)
- Radical prostatectomy: surgically removing the prostate, seminal vesicles and pelvic lymph nodes
- Hormone therapy
The doctors at Fore River Urology can help you decide whether prostate cancer screening is right for you. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, our experienced and caring team will promptly guide you to the information, testing, and treatment you need. For an appointment, please call 207-518-6600.
For more online information about PSA screening and prostate cancer in general, excellent resources can be found at Know Your Stats, the American Cancer Society, and the National Institutes of Health.