Prostate cancer is a very dangerous disease that affects men. It causes a lot of deaths, especially if it is not detected in time. This disease advances at a very slow pace but it is very difficult to treat once it has crossed beyond a certain point. Therefore, it is best for men to take steps to identify the disease in its early stages so that they can start the most effective treatment protocol. The problem is compounded by the fact that early stage prostate cancer does not have any symptoms. Therefore, it is important to get screening done at the right time.
The most common method of screening for this cancer is the PSA blood test which also happens to be highly controversial because there are doubts about its accuracy at detecting cancer. The treatments for prostate cancer tend to be very drastic and can result in permanent sexual impairment in men. Mistakes in the PSA test can therefore be very costly in many ways. At the same time, this test has been credited with reducing mortality from this cancer. It is very important for you to weigh the consequences of not undergoing the test versus the damage that can be caused due to a wrong result.
If you are advanced in age then you do not necessarily have to undergo the PSA test. Since this cancer grows so slowly, it is unlikely to develop during your lifetime. If you are younger than 40 then doctors recommend that you undergo this screening. A result of 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) generally indicates a risk of cancer. Even so, if your levels are below 2.5 ng/ml then you need to repeat the test after a year. Levels between 2.5 and 4 ng/ml require you to undergo the screening twice a year. If you have a result greater than 4 ng/ml then you should get another test done in order to confirm the diagnosis so that you can start treatment as required.
At the same time, you should e aware of the fact that there are certain factors that can enhance your PSA levels without indicating cancer. If you are advanced in years or have an enlarged or inflamed prostate due to some reason then your test will show alarming levels of PSA. Another cause is enhanced testosterone levels. On the other hand, obesity can mask prostate cancer by giving you a very low score.