Knowing the facts about prostate cancer and getting tested can save your life – and starting the conversation and getting tested is simpler than you might imagine.
Prostate Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men.
If prostate cancer is detected early, it can usually be treated successfully. That is why it is important to stay informed, know the facts, and start the conversation around prostate cancer testing. A PSA blood test can determine your risk of developing prostate cancer, followed by an examination and further testing if necessary. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age although men from all walks of life over 40 are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day. Men with a family history or whose heritage is African or Caribbean are most at risk.
?If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should talk to your GP about testing from age 40 onwards. Men with no history of prostate cancer in the family should talk to their GP from 50 onwards.
What PSA actually means.
PSA stands for Prostate-specific antigen. It is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. The test results will determine whether further investigation for prostate cancer is necessary.
What the test results show.
It is normal for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood. However, prostate cancer or benign (non- cancerous) conditions can increase a man’s PSA level. If your PSA level is elevated, it does not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer – but you will need further tests for prostate cancer to rule it out.
Other reasons for elevated PSA levels.
There can be different reasons for an elevated PSA level besides prostate cancer, including benign prostate enlargement, inflammation, infection, age, and race. PSA level alone does not give doctor enough information to distinguish between benign prostate conditions and cancer. However, your doctor will take the result of the PSA test into account when deciding whether to check further for signs of prostate cancer.
How to start the conversation and get tested.
Your GP can answer your questions about prostate cancer testing and organise a PSA test for you.
You can also make an appointment at the Australian Prostate Centre to see a GP at the Centre. We have specialised men’s health GP’s at the Centre who can discuss your options, answer your questions and organise a prostate checkup and testing. Call the Centre on (03) 8373 7600 to make your appointment.