Should men be tested for prostate cancer?

September is prostate cancer awareness month in Canada

By Davinder Marjara

Mississauga, September 4 (CINEWS): Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops when cells in the prostate multiply abnormally and form a tumour that is cancerous. While deaths from prostate cancer have dropped by approximately 40% over the past 20 years, an estimated 4,100 Canadian men will die from the disease in 2015 alone.prostate-cancer

In my opinion if most of the following symptoms are present, it is better to be checked by an urologist to rule out the possibility of cancer. These symptoms may be benign, but since there is no other reliable test to rule out prostate cancer, the PSA test and the DRE by an urologist should be the only way to go. In case the PSA result is not within normal limits, biopsy should be performed to rule out the cancer. If the biopsy is positive, one should opt for treatment or be monitored closely by an urologist depending on the age at the time of diagnosis. At present there is no test to determine which type of cancer is aggressive. It may be too late if the cancer goes out of prostate into the lymph nodes and spreads throughout the bones and whole body. Symptoms to watch are:
· A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
· Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
· Thinner stream or interrupted flow of urine
· Painful or burning sensation when urinating
· Difficulty in having an erection or weak erections
· Painful ejaculation.
· Blood in urine or semen
. Constant urges to urinate
. Dribbling or leaking after urination
. Needing to push or strain to begin urinating
. Feeling like you’ve not completely emptied your bladder when you stop urinating

Early detection

Doctors agree that the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is not a perfect test for finding prostate cancer early. It misses some cancers, and in other cases it is elevated when cancer isn’t present. Researchers are working on two strategies to address this problem. One approach is to try to improve on the test that measures the total PSA level. The percent-free PSA is one way to do this, although it requires two separate tests. Another option might be to measure only the “complexed” PSA (the portion of PSA that is not “free”) to begin with, instead of the total and free PSA. This one test could give the same amount of information as the other two done separately. Studies are now under way to see if this test provides the same level of accuracy. The other approach is to develop new tests based on other tumor markers.
Several newer blood tests seem to be more accurate than the PSA test, based on early studies. Early results have been promising, but these and other new tests are not yet available outside of research labs and will need more study before they are widely used to test for prostate cancer.
Other new tests being studied are urine tests. One test, called Progensa®, looks at the level of prostate cancer antigen 3 (PCA3) in the urine. The higher the level, the more likely that prostate cancer is present. In studies, it was used along with the PSA test. Another test looks for an abnormal gene change called TMPRSS2: ERG in prostate cells. The cells to be tested are found in urine collected after a rectal exam. This gene change is found in about half of all localized prostate cancers. It is rarely found in the cells of men without prostate cancer. Studies are under way to develop this into a test for early detection of prostate cancer.

Nutrition and lifestyle changes

One early study has found that in men with a rising PSA level after surgery or radiation therapy, drinking pomegranate juice seemed to slow the time it took the PSA level to double. Larger studies are now trying to confirm these results. Some encouraging early results have also been reported with flaxseed supplements. One small study in men with early prostate cancer found that daily flaxseed seemed to slow the rate at which prostate cancer cells multiplied. More research is needed to confirm this finding. Another study found that men who chose not to have treatment for their localized prostate cancer might be able to slow its growth with intensive lifestyle changes. The men ate a vegan diet (no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products) and exercised frequently. They also took part in support groups and yoga. After one year the men saw, on average, a slight drop in their PSA level. It isn’t known if this effect will last since the report only followed the men for 1 year. The regimen may also be hard to follow for some men. A recent study showed that giving soy supplements after surgery (radical prostatectomy) for prostate cancer did not lower the risk of the cancer coming back.

So should men get regular PSA tests?

Many urologists, who often treat men suffering terribly from late-stage prostate cancer, agree that they should. But many experts on screening tests, who often see doctors, fail to accept medical evidence that conflicts with their experience, and say that they should not. The American Cancer Society has this advice: Men should only get the PSA test after having a detailed talk with a doctor about the benefits and risks of PSA screening.

Reviewed and compiled from:
American Cancer Society
Study Urology at the University of Rochester Medical Centre July, 2012.

I am a prostate cancer survivor myself. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and treated by external radiation therapy. After the treatment I followed a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet. I can share my experience with any one about this.

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