Prostate Cancer (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
If you are having problems urinating, your doctor may use tests to see if you have an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). This condition is the most common cause of urination problems.
Initial tests include:
If tests point to prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend a prostate biopsy, in which tissue is taken from the prostate and examined under a microscope. A biopsy is the only way to confirm whether you have prostate cancer.
After treatment for prostate cancer, you have regular checkups to check for any signs that the cancer has come back or spread. Tests that are done to evaluate the spread of the cancer and to plan further treatment may include:
Screening for prostate cancer—checking for signs of the disease when there are no symptoms—often is done with the digital rectal exam and the PSA test. The number of deaths caused by prostate cancer has dropped over the past 20 years. This has been linked to more early diagnosis with PSA testing and to better cancer treatment.
But it is not yet known if PSA testing actually saves lives or if the benefits of having PSA screening are worth the harms of follow-up tests and cancer treatments.
Finding prostate cancer early leads you to some big decisions. Most prostate cancer grows slowly. And the side effects of treatment can change your quality of life—mainly not being able to have an erection (impotence) and not being able to control urination (incontinence). If you are an older man with serious health problems or close to the end of your life, these side effects may seem worse than early-stage cancer that may not grow much during your lifetime.
Because your age and medical history are unique, learn the pros and cons of PSA testing and talk to your doctor before making a decision.
What to think about
There were about 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2009.1 About 17 out of 100 men living in the United States will get prostate cancer. Out of these 17 men, 3 will die of prostate cancer. This means that 97 out of 100 men will die from something other than prostate cancer.2
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