Exercise and metabolic disease/prostate/diagnosis
The main tests used to help diagnose prostate cancer in Australia are the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test and the DRE (digital rectal examination)(2).
- PSA test - This is not a cancer specific test. This blood test examines the number of serum prostate specific antigen. This type of protein is produced by prostate cells, so an increased number of this protein suggests that there has been some sort of growth of the prostate. The higher the number the more chance of a cancer and really high numbers suggest the cancer may have started to spread.
- DRE - This test involves a doctor inserting a gloved finger into the anus of a patient and feeling the prostate for any hard lumps that could be cancerous tissue.
A combination of these two tests is usually recommended.
Abnormalities in these tests leads to the suspicion of prostate cancer, a biopsy may then be recommended to confirm or deny these suspicions. The biopsy involves a small sapmle of tissue being taken by a spring loaded needle. Samples are then analysed to determine the stage and grade of the cancer, this provides a definitive answer as to whether or not the patient has prostate cancer.
Men over 40 with a family history are advised to get tested annually and so are all men over the age of 50. In the early stages of prostate cancer there can be no signs or symptoms in some cases, so getting tested is usually the only way to detect it. Early detection is vital as far as whether or not the cancer can be cured.
References[edit | edit source]
- Humphrey, PA, and Andriole, GL. Prostate cancer diagnosis. Missouri Medicine 107(2): 107-112, 2010