By undergoing a quick blood test, you can identify the early stages of prostate cancer. Whether you're at high risk of developing the disease or you're already experiencing symptoms, the step towards finding out the truth is a PSA test.
Before you proceed, it's worth bearing in mind that PSA blood tests aren't 100% accurate - they don't identify all prostate cancers. But if high levels of the prostate-related antigen PSA are present in your blood, your doctor will order more tests to further the investigation.
PSA is a type of protein that's only produced in the prostate gland. How much PSA there is in your blood depends on a range of factors, including your age, the condition of your prostate and your lifestyle.
There is currently no NHS screening programme for prostate cancer due to the relative inaccuracy of tests. Nevertheless, a quick blood test can often be the beginning of a treatment plan and a pathway to recovery.
The risk of developing prostate cancer increases significantly after the age of 40. If you're aged between 50 and 69, you'll be classified as having raised PSA if you return a result of 3ng/ml or higher. Even if you do return an abnormal result, cancer is just one of several potential causes, including an enlarged prostate, a water infection and a condition called prostatitis.
If you're suffering from symptoms related to issues with your prostate, your doctor will advise you to undergo a blood test. The symptoms include:
An urge to urinate regularly
Urinating more regularly at night
Blood in the urine or semen
Pain while urinating
Urinating is taking much longer than normal
Persistent pain in the lower back and pelvic area
You might be encouraged to undergo regular PSA testing if:
You're overweight or obese
Close family members have had prostate cancer
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