Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

prostate cancer diagnosis doctor

Prostate cancer is one of the most prominent types of cancer in men. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates approximately one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime. Additionally, ACS states roughly one in 41 men will die of prostate cancer.

A proper prostate cancer diagnosis is crucial. Research indicates the relative survival rates of prostate cancer patients decrease as cancer spreads throughout the body. Fortunately, with a proper diagnosis, a patient and urologist can work together to effectively treat prostate cancer before it escalates.

What Are the Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer generally causes urinary problems. Some of the most common urinary symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Reduced flow or velocity of urine stream

Prostate cancer sometimes spreads to nearby tissue and bones, too. In this instance, prostate cancer may cause one or more of the aforementioned symptoms:

  • Pain or numbness in the hips, legs or feet
  • Persistent bone pain
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Blood in the semen
  • Pain during ejaculation

If a person experiences any of the aforementioned prostate cancer symptoms, it is usually a good idea to err on the side of caution. Thanks to a prostate cancer screening, an individual can quickly identify prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is detected, a patient and urologist then can determine the best course of action to treat this issue.

How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

A urologist uses various tests to identify prostate cancer. These tests include:

    • Physical Exam: Enables a urologist to analyze a patient’s current health, medical history and potential prostate cancer symptoms.
    • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): Provides a simple, effective test to evaluate a patient’s prostate. During a DRE, a urologist inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into a patient’s rectum. Next, the urologist feels for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate; this allows him or her to identify cancer on one or both sides of the prostate. If cancer is found on both sides of the prostate, the cancer may have spread beyond the prostate to nearby tissue.
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test: Measures the amount of PSA, a protein produced by prostate tissue, in a patient’s blood. A patient who has a PSA level of 4 or higher may be more susceptible than others to prostate cancer.
  • Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS): Uses sound waves to visualize the prostate and surrounding tissue. A TRUS is commonly performed if a patient has elevated PSA levels or if a patient’s DRE results are abnormal. During a TRUS, a urologist inserts a small probe into a patient’s rectum. The probe then produces sound waves that enter the prostate and create echoes. Finally, a computer produces a black and white image of the prostate that a urologist can use to analyze a patient’s prostate and nearby tissue.
  • Prostate Biopsy: Removes samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate. A urologist uses a prostate biopsy needle to collect tissue samples. Then, he or she reviews a patient’s prostate tissue samples under a microscope to identify any cell abnormalities.

A urologist may use one or more of the following tests to identify prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is discovered, a urologist will offer a personalized treatment recommendation based on a patient’s symptoms.

When Should You Start Screening for Prostate Cancer?

The right time to begin prostate cancer screenings varies based on an individual’s family history, ethnicity and other risk factors. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) offers the following recommendations for men to begin prostate cancer screenings:

  • Age 40 for men who have a family history of prostate cancer
  • Age 45 for African American men
  • Age 50 for men who do not have a family history of prostate cancer and are not African American

USPSTF notes that men between the ages of 55 to 69 should receive prostate cancer screenings based on a urologist’s recommendation. It also does not recommend prostate cancer screenings for men over the age of 70.

Schedule a Prostate Cancer Screening at La Peer Health Systems

La Peer Health Systems offers comprehensive prostate cancer screenings and custom prostate cancer treatments. To find out more, please contact us today at 855.360.9119.