A Public Service Announcement
for your Prostate-Specific Antigen Test
DID YOU KNOW:
"If you're waking up several times a night to go to the bathroom, lost your sex drive, have issues with urinating, or have pelvic pain, it may be time to see me," says Dr. Cargill, urologist at St. Luke's Urology Associates.
The prostate gland enlarges as you age. An enlarged prostate constricts the urethra, making it harder to urinate. In addition, the bladder may weaken with age and can't void completely.
As many know, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Prostate cancer is deadly because it often has no symptoms early on.
SYMPTOMS AND RISKS
Advanced prostate cancer may cause signs such as:
• Trouble urinating
• Decreased force in the urine stream
• Blood in urine or semen
• Bone pain
• Unintended loss of weight
• Erectile dysfunction
Older age: Most prostate cancer is prevalent in men over fifty.
Race: Black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than men of other races.
Family history: If a first-degree blood relative is diagnosed with prostate cancer, you're at an increased risk. And if you have a family history of the breast cancer gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2), your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
Obesity: Obese men may have a higher risk of prostate cancer than those with a healthy weight.
A prostate-specific antigen screening test measures the amount of PSA in your body. Normal and cancerous prostates produce PSA, but cancerous prostates tend to have PSA in higher amounts. Detecting prostate cancer early with a PSA test improves your chances of effective treatment. A regular PSA changes with age. As you age, normal PSA levels slowly increase, even without prostate cancer or other prostate conditions.
Some doctors use a cutoff point of 2.5 ng/mL or higher when deciding if further screening is required, while others might recommend it starting at four ng/mL. Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 are called borderline and have a 25% chance of having prostate cancer. Fifty percent of those with a PSA, more significant than 10, have prostate cancer.
A high PSA doesn't mean you have prostate cancer, but it's an indicator. Men with higher-than-normal PSA levels should consider further testing. Your provider may recommend one of the following options:
• Waiting for a period and having a second PSA test
• Having another type of test to get more detail
• Getting a prostate biopsy
For those who've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, Dr. Cargill will discuss your treatment options. It's essential to weigh the benefits of each treatment option compared to the possible side effects. The doctors who treat prostate cancer include:
UROLOGIST: A surgeon who treats diseases of the urinary and male reproductive systems.
RADIATION ONCOLOGIST: A doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy.
MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: A doctor who treats cancer with hormone therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy.
"Active surveillance is an option for low-grade prostate cancer that isn't causing symptoms, confined to a small area of the prostate, and is growing slowly," added Dr. Cargill. Blood tests, rectal exams, and prostate biopsies help to monitor the cancer's progression. This approach may be best for someone of an advanced age or with other severe health conditions. If tests show your cancer is progressing, you may opt for surgery, radiation, or chemoimmunotherapy.
For more information, call: (828) 894-3230, or visit, StLukesNC.org/urology.