This article is Medically Approved ✓ by Dr. Edward Salko
Prostate cancer can affect any man. However, regardless of status or other social determinants, the probability of developing prostate cancer can be high when the condition is undetected on time.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation reported that 1 in 8 Americans would be diagnosed with the condition once in their lifetime. Furthermore, the American Cancer Society says about 248,530 new cases of prostate cancer in 2021 alone.
Among men, it is considered one of the most common forms of cancer.
Since the most exact cause of the condition is yet to be discovered, risk factors and preventive measures are essential for survival. Therefore, a significant step for surefire survival against prostate cancer is early diagnosis.
Older men and those who have a family history of prostate cancer are strictly advised to get tested. And in this subject, a prostate exam is often recommended.
Diagnosing prostate cancer usually requires a biopsy. However, a lot of adult males are also looking into blood tests that detect prostate cancer.
Fortunately, a blood test designed to diagnose prostate cancer does exist.
Learn more about how it works and where you can get tested in the following lines.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
A prostate exam is often done through a digital rectal exam (DRE). Your doctor wears a lubricated glove and inserts a finger in your rectum to feel any bumps or harden mass. The DRE locates the specific area where an abnormality might be occurring.
If your doctor suspects prostate cancer or any problems in the gland, a biopsy or a blood test will be ordered.
A biopsy is often ordered to confirm prostate cancer. A small sample from your prostate gland tissue is collected and analyzed in the lab in this procedure.
A biopsy can be uncomfortable for some men as it involves the insertion of a certain device, usually through the anus near the scrotum. That is why some men prefer a blood test to detect prostate cancer.
These procedures are not meant to be compared as they are performed in a string and a specific sequence.
A blood test is often ordered to measure the likelihood of prostate cancer, especially if there are no symptoms observed. This is followed by a biopsy which ultimately validates the condition.
Is a Prostate Cancer Blood Test Available For Men?
A prostate cancer blood test screens for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is produced by the cells of the prostate.
The general rule of thumb among clinicians is that when PSA increases, the likelihood of prostate cancer also goes up.
PSA levels that go higher than four ng/ml lead to doctors ordering further testing. On the other hand, PSA levels go beyond ten and have about a 50% chance of prostate cancer.
If you want to take a blood test for prostate cancer, you can easily order the test online through Personalabs.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is characterized by the growth of malignant (cancerous) cells in the prostate gland.
The prostate is a unique organ found in the male’s reproductive system. It is shaped like a walnut and located below the bladder, fronting the rectal area. It functions to produce seminal fluid that transports and nourishes the sperm cells upon ejaculation.
The development of cancer in the prostate is commonly confined in the area. However, aggressive cancer cells can migrate to other parts of the body and complicate the condition.
During the early stages of prostate cancer, symptoms are often non-existent. This is the primary reason why checking for abnormalities in the prostate gland or undergoing the proper test is essential since it is the only way to uncover the condition.
On the other hands, when symptoms such as the following are present, it may suggest that the prostate cancer is already advanced:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty in urinating
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Slow and weak urine flow
- Bloody urine or semen
- Bone and joint pain
While prostate cancer can occur to any adult man, the likelihood of developing the condition is higher for people who have the following risk factors:
Prostate cancer is mainly observed among older men, especially for those aged 65 and above. Hence, as age increases, the risk of developing the condition gets higher as well.
2. Family History
If someone in your family has had prostate cancer, there is a higher chance that you might develop the disease as well.
According to research, men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer have twice the likelihood of growing prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, the more relatives you have that have prostate cancer, the higher the risk is.
Several studies have shown that Black, non-Hispanic men are more likely to have prostate cancer than White, non-Hispanic men. Moreover, the mortality associated with prostate cancer is higher among Black men as well.
4. Dietary Patterns
What you eat may influence the formation of cancer cells in your prostate. In a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, dietary patterns are associated with prostate cancer.
The population of gut bacteria is found to be abundant in prostate cancer patients. Gut bacteria, in general, can be affected by the food you eat and your overall lifestyle.
5. Exposure to Agent Orange
According to research by the Department of California Davis, veterans who had agent orange exposure had a higher incidence of prostate cancer.
Agent Orange was heavily used as an ingredient for the herbicidal warfare program of the US military during the Vietnam war.
A man diagnosed with prostate cancer has a higher survival rate compared to other forms of cancer.
However, this favorable rate depends on several conditions. First, if the prostate cancer is localized to the gland itself, then treatment works even better against cancer.
Nonetheless, if the cancer cells have already spread in the nearby organ, the chances of survival decreases.
Once you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will prepare the right treatment plan for you. This could include the following procedures:
- Surgical removal of the prostate
- Radiation therapy
- Ablative therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Drug therapy
Preventive Measures for Prostate Cancer
If several risk factors for prostate cancer apply to you, you don’t necessarily have to fret. There are certain actions you can undertake to protect yourself from the condition.
- Learn about any family history of prostate cancer and consult your doctor
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep an active lifestyle by exercises regularly
- Avoid red and processed meats
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Limit dairy and calcium supplements
If you’re a father, the best gift you can give to your family is your good health. Nonetheless, if you’re a man aged above 50, getting tested for prostate cancer should be on top of your priorities.
Prostate cancer, despite the promising survival rate, is a serious condition that relies on time.
The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more likely you can retrieve your normal life. Hence, if you tick the risk factors on the list, you better secure at least a PSA blood test to monitor your prostate health.