Should I be screened for prostate cancer?
Question: Should I be screened for prostate cancer?
Answer: Prostate cancer is an important health concern among men, and among the most treatable diseases.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is usually a very slow growing cancer, often causing no symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. Most men with prostate cancer die of other causes, and many never know that they have the disease.
What causes prostate cancer?
It is unknown what causes prostate cancer, but diet that includes eating high amounts of fat from red meat contributes to the risk. Prostate cancer is more prominent in countries where meat and
dairy products are common than in countries where diets are largely made up of rice, soybean products and vegetables.
According to WebMD.com, in 2014, about 233,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States, resulting in approximately 29,480 deaths. African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer and have the highest death rate. In other parts of the world including Asia, Latin America, and Africa the occurrence of prostate cancer is rare.
What are the symptoms?
In the early stages, men may not experience any symptoms. Prostate cancer in its early stages can be treated with very good chances for survival. Fortunately, about 85 percent of American men with prostate cancer are diagnosed in an early stage.
In later stages, symptoms can include:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Painful, burning sensation
- Blood in urine
Should I be screened?
There is debate among professional organizations about PSA-based prostate screening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies follow the recommendations set forth by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force which recommends against PSA-based screenings for men who do not have symptoms. The American Cancer Society, American Urological Association and the American College of Physicians also have other recommendations.
The common thread among all of the recommendations is the importance of a conversation with your doctor and supporting informed decision-making.
Screening is a decision that a man should make after consultation with his doctor and after being informed of the potential benefits and harms of current methods of prostate cancer screening.
Having a conversation about prostate cancer with your doctor is essential. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening.