Diagnosing prostate cancer quickly is vital so that treatment can start as early as possible.
First of all, you need to be aware of certain symptoms of prostate cancer. Sufferers experience all kinds of symptoms like inability to empty the bladder fully, frequent urges to urinate, slow urination etc.
In the early stages, the gland becomes large and presses against the urethra, thereby causing urinary problems. Furthermore, there are other less common symptoms like erectile dysfunction, blood traces in urine or semen, prostate pain, etc. If the cancer spreads to other regions outside of prostate gland, the patient may suffer from weight loss and bone pain.
However, all the above symptoms may also occur in the case of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). So you have to first make sure whether you are suffering from prostate cancer or BPH. There are verious tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Major Tests for Diagnosing Prostate Cancer:
There are variety of tests available for diagnosing prostate cancer. As a patient, you don’t have to undergo all of these tests. The doctor may tell you to do a couple of tests and explain to you what each is meant for.
PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen. This is a kind of blood test which looks for high levels of a protein enzyme produced by the prostate gland.
People with prostate cancer will usually have abnormally high levels of this enzyme in their blood stream.
PSA is one of the best ways for diagnosing prostate cancer as it is inexpensive and convenient when compared to other tests.
Note that high levels of PSA doesn’t mean that a person has prostate cancer. There can be other factors responsible for a rise in PSA levels. So a person has to undergo further tests to make sure.
The Prostate Ultrasound
In this method, a tiny ultrasound device is inserted into the back passage. The device produces high frequency sound waves which bounce off organs and produce a clear image of the prostate gland.
People may experience a little amount of discomfort during the prostate ultrasound examination. They have to wear loose-fitting clothes, or a gown during the test.
This is a very accurate way of diagnosing prostate cancer. In biopsy, the doctor will take a tiny sample of the prostate through a needle. Next, this sample is examined in detail under a microscope. To make the whole procedure painless, the patient receives a local anaesthetic in the rectum region.
Painless or not, no man looks forward to further tests after a blood test has shown a high level of PSA. But early detection of prostate cancer will give you a much better chance to beat this illness.