Prostate cancer – how to test for the disease and what to expect when you see a GP

Posted on Feb 16 2018 - 6:39pm by admin
  • Prostate cancer symptoms include difficulty starting a urine stream, and never feeling like you’ve emptied your bladder
  • GP tests for prostate cancer include blood tests and a rectal exam
  • Blood tests look for prostate-specific antigen
  • Rectal exams tell doctors if the prostate is hard – a sign of cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to be diagnosed in men in the UK.

More than 40,000 new cases of the disease are reported every year.

You should always see a GP if you’re showing signs of prostate cancer.

While there’s no single definitive test for prostate cancer, your GP may suggest a number of different tests.

The NHS said: “Your doctor is likely to ask for a urine sample to check for infection, take a blood sample to test your level of prostate-specific antigen [PSA], and examine your prostate [digital rectal examination].

“PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland.

“Prostate cancer can increase the production of PSA, and so a PSA test looks for raised levels of PSA in the blood that may be a sign of the condition in its early stages.”

The amount of PSA in the body increases as you get older, so more than 65 per cent of men with a raised PSA level will not have cancer.

The next step is a digital rectal exam.

“During a DRE, your GP will insert a lubricated and gloved finger into your rectum,” the NHS said.

The rectum is close to the prostate gland, so the GP can feel the surface of the gland.

If the gland is hard and bumpy, it could be a sign of prostate cancer. The test could also rule out prostate enlargement.

If you’re at risk of prostate cancer, your GP should refer you to hospital for further tests, including a biopsy.

The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but your risk of the disease increases as you get older.

The cancer is more common in men of African, or African-Caribbean descent, the NHS said.

Lower your risk of prostate cancer by regularly exercising and cutting back on calcium-rich foods.

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