The media continues to publish articles that reinforce the memes that prostate cancer is an old man’s disease and that annual PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening causes more harm than good.
I don’t believe this is true and the stories that were collected in the Prostate Cancer Pony Express Memorial Journal prove that prostate cancer strikes young men as well.
Read the entry below, written by this 59 year old man, and make your own mind if he would have preferred to have been diagnosed while he still had the full range of treatment options available to him:
Read Complete Blog at Prostate Cancer Pony Express Stories and PC Myths
If you follow this blog far enough back you will read early rumblings about the futility of prostate cancer screening. The last ten years has seen a “slow growth” of international guidelines stating that this is something that we probably should NOT be doing… and yet, it remains one of the most common screening tests in primary care. In 2013 approximately 20% of middle-aged Aussie men were tested using PSA. [AIHW, Medicare]
This 2016 paper in BMJ Open illustrated the stark differences in PSA screening practice between Australian and UK based GPs. The Poms rarely screen for prostate cancer – whereas we are a bit keen in the Antipodes.
Doctors’ perspectives on PSA testing illuminate established differences in prostate cancer screening rates between Australia and the UK: a qualitative study
The rate of screening in Australia has been decreasing since about 2008 [as has the incidence of disease… beware statistical trap there! If you don’t look you won’t find it. Does it matter?? – there’s the big question!]
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.
Men who have high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in their blood face troubling uncertainties. While it’s true that prostate cancer can elevate PSA, so can other conditions, including the benign prostate enlargement that afflicts many men as they get older. PSA levels also vary normally from one man to the next, and some men have unusually high levels even when they’re perfectly healthy. To rule out cancer, doctors might recommend a biopsy. Yet prostate biopsies pose risks of infection, and they can also miss cancer in men who truly have the disease. Most prostate biopsies are guided by transrectal ultrasound, an imaging technology that allows doctors to see the gland while taking tissue samples (called cores) with specialized needles. Tumors may not show up on ultrasound, however, so the biopsy needles might never hit a cancerous target.
A more precise way to investigate elevated PSA results.
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Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer among men today, with more than 2 million men in the United States counting themselves as survivors. Samir Shirodkar, M.D., a urologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital, offers insights that every man (and woman) should know about prostate cancer.
Your family history matters.
Family history is one of the most important things to understand and communicate with your physician when it comes to prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the risk of developing prostate cancer more than doubles if a father or brother has a history of prostate cancer.
The longer you live, the higher your risk.
The chance of developing prostate cancer rapidly increases after the age of 65. Dr. Shirodkar recommends patients begin having prostate screenings between 50-55 years of age, unless they have a family history of prostate cancer. It is recommended that men with a family history of prostate cancer begin screenings in their 40s.
Different races have higher occurrences of prostate cancer.
African American men are nearly 2.4 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than men from other ethnicities. Among the 10 leading causes of cancer death in African American men, prostate cancer is second only behind lung cancer and is the fourth leading cause of death among African American men over age 45.
Should Know About Prostate Cancer?
Binod Sinha, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Sinha finished his urology residency training at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis June, 1985 and was Board Certified in 1988. He is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital as an active attending and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Urology at UMDNJ. He is actively involved in teaching urology residents.
Dr. Sinha believes that total health involves the understanding of each patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. He spends a lot of time with the patient counseling and discussing all of the alternative treatments. He believes in early diagnosis and preventive medicine. He regularly attends national urology meetings to keep current on the diagnosis and treatment of genitourinary diseases. Dr. Sinha organizes several CME meetings in Central New Jersey. He was invited to present papers in Berlin, Germany in September 2008. He was invited as Course Director for Office Based Surgery in April 2009 for the Chicago American Urology Association (AUA) meeting.
What is urinary incontinence? What causes it?
Urinary Incontinence is a common problem in men, women and children, which is defined as loss of bladder control or involuntary urination. It involves occasional leakage of urine when you sneeze or cough and a sudden and strong urge to urinate that you don’t get to toilet in time. It might cause embarrassment to the individuals affecting their daily activities. Simple lifestyle changes and medications as per doctor’s recommendations can stop the problem.