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Early Symptoms Prostate Cancer: The Debate on Whether Diagnostic Testing Is Advisable at This Stage

Aug 17, 2007
Early symptoms prostate cancer is very rare. If the condition is at its earliest stage, chances are, there wouldn't be any sign at all. In majority of early stage cases, cancer in the prostate is often diagnosed accidentally either by prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a digital rectal examination (DRE) which could be part of a routine checkup. Because of the increased attention given to the disease, most men, especially those who are aged 45 and above, often go for routine tests to make sure that their prostate glands are in good health.

The use of tests to evaluate early symptoms prostate cancer became more common during the 1990s. Statistics have shown that death rates due to cancer of the prostate have declined following the increased use of these diagnostic methods. Despite their apparent usefulness, the scientific community has been divided on whether it is advisable for men to undergo such tests even with the absence of symptoms.

PSA and DRE methods have potential problems attached to them. For one, these screening techniques are not 100 percent accurate. A person's PSA level can become irregular due to reasons other than cancer. Medications and other health factors might cause this, which in turn could result to faulty evaluation. The DRE, primarily used to detect irregularities in the shape, texture and size of the prostate, might also be misinterpreted since the irregularities might be caused by other prostate conditions.

Several medical societies have advised against the use of routine testing during the early stages since inconclusive results might lead to anxiety or confusion. If the results are normal, a patient might get a false sense of security that could lead to neglect or eliminate caution all together. Furthermore, a man who gets a positive result from a PSA or DRE test might opt to get a biopsy despite the minor risks and discomfort associated with the process.

Some experts are recommending that routine examinations be offered to patients only if they are aged 50 and above. Except for men who belong to high risk groups, routine prostate cancer testing is not recommended to men who are below the age of 50. For high risk individuals, like those who have first degree relatives with prostate cancer, testing should be done as early as at age 45. Yearly monitoring is also recommended to these individuals since their chances of having the condition are higher than the ordinary man.

Before deciding on whether to get a PSA or a DRE test to confirm early symptoms prostate cancer, factors such as age and health should be considered. If a man is young and is genetically predisposed, then early tests are recommended since he would have a better chance of treating the disease if it is caught early. If a patient is old and in poor health, then he needs to discuss his options first with his physician. There might not be any need for tests since prostate cancer is a slow developing condition. It might not become a problem and the person might even die of other causes before it can even impact his life.
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Mensglands.com provides you with info on early symptoms prostate cancer, its treatments and symptoms and how to overcome or reduce the risk of getting it. http://www.mensglands.com/
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