Do you know that your father can be a victim to prostate cancer? Do you know that prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer among men worldwide? As per Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in Indian males. The incidence rate in India is 9 to 10/100000 population which is higher than other parts of Asia and Africa, but lower than USA and Europe.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test can help detect prostate cancer early, but it can also cause fake alarms or can miss prostate cancer when it’s really there. Most of the health organizations recommend that PSA test should be done in men between the ages of 45 and 70. In 1986, PSA test was originally approved by FDA to monitor the progression of prostate cancer and in 1994; the FDA approved the use of this test in combination with digital rectal examination (DRE) to test asymptomatic men for prostate cancer. It is recommended that PSA test should be done in consultation with doctor, if your father fulfills the following criteria:
- Age should be between 45 and 70 years
- Family history of prostate cancer
- Symptoms of prostate cancer
Benefits of PSA Test:
- This test can detect prostate cancer early, before it grows large or spreads outside of the prostate.
- Detecting cancer at an early stage, can halt the spread of cancer through treatment.
- Periodic PSA tests can be helpful for men who are at risk of prostate cancer.
Risks of PSA Test:
- A false positive result on a PSA test implies that a man might have prostate cancer when he actually doesn’t. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), infection or swelling of the prostate gland and recent ejaculation can increase PSA levels; however these factors don’t contribute to prostate cancer.
- A false negative result means that the test shows that the PSA level is normal even though prostate cancer is present. Approximately 15% of prostate cancers are missed through this test. It can result in paying no attention to the symptoms of prostate cancer.
To conclude, PSA test has its own limitations to detect prostate cancer; however it is meaningful for men to undergo this test who have a family history of prostate cancer. Also, it’s a better tool to diagnose BPH and prostatitis.
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Ravi Shet is the writer of this article and Co-founder of Treatum, an online healthcare portal connecting patients with right doctors.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.