It’s a fact – prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in American men, second only to skin cancer. Even so, a prostate cancer diagnosis can often come as a surprise, because many men do not experience any prior symptoms. Prostate cancer awareness is vital, because even in the absence of symptoms, it can be a serious medical condition.
Both the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal examination (DRE) are recommended for prostate cancer screening. The PSA test is a simple blood test that measures the level of a protein produced inside the prostate gland and is effective for early detection. However, it’s not clear if, for all men, the potential benefits of testing outweigh the possible risks, such as detecting and treating cancers that may never cause any problems. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening.
While a primary care physician can perform the routine screenings, there are times when a urologist is the best choice. Typically, an elevated PSA level prompts a visit to a urologist, who will perform a prostate biopsy to confirm or rule out cancer. Urologists are specially trained to treat problems affecting the urinary tract and disorders of the male reproductive system. If the diagnosis is prostate cancer, a urologist can carry out or manage treatment, which may range from active surveillance to radiation therapy to surgery.