Prostate Cancer Overview
While some of the statistics surrounding prostate cancer can be frightening – including that it’s the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in men – prostate cancer is actually highly curable when diagnosed and treated early. While one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, only one in 35 will die from the disease.
In some cases, the risk associated with early-stage prostate tumors is small and the patient will likely die with prostate cancer, rather than die from it. In other cases, men have an aggressive form of the disease that may be life-threatening. As specialists in diagnosis and treatment, Wake Forest Baptist urologists help guide their patients through all aspects of the disease – from whether to undergo PSA screenings to how to proceed if screening results indicate a possibility of cancer.
The Facts About Screening
Two different tests are used to screen for prostate cancer: the digital rectal examination (DRE) and the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which measures a substance produced only by the prostate. Elevated levels of PSA can be due to a variety of causes, including enlarged prostate, inflammation of the prostate and prostate cancer – so it is important to remember that a high PSA does not always mean prostate cancer. Because ejaculation can temporarily elevate the PSA level, it is recommended that men abstain from sexual activity for two days prior to the test.
The PSA test has been the subject of much controversy since a government task force concluded that it does more harm than good to them. The American Urological Association (AUA) has issued new guidelines for prostate cancer screening. A discussion with your doctor can help determine if screening is right for you.
Learn more about prostate cancer
Learn more about prostate cancer treatments
Urologist Ronald Davis, MD, discusses the latest recommendations on prostate cancer screening.