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December 31, 2007

5 Important Prostate Cancer Tests That You Should Know About

The mere mention of prostate cancer cause cause a panic in many men. The truth of the matter is though that just like any other cancer, if detected early, your chances of successful treatment of prostate cancer are very high. However, if you allow the cancer to grow too much, it can become very difficult to treat -- in some cases impossible. Because your risk of prostate cancer development increases dramatically after the age of 50, it is crucial that men in this age group get regular checkups and health exams.

Although prostate cancer screening is not considered a routine procedure, you can get tested with a simple request. Regular screening is very important for the following reasons:

1. After the age of 50, your risk of prostate cancer increases substantially. Your risk generally continues to increase as you grow older. After 75 years of age, the risk increases even more. Approximately 50% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed after the age of 75.

2. It is also likely that genetics play a large role in determining your risk of prostate cancer. If you have a family history of the disease, your chances of developing prostate cancer increase. There are also particular racial groups that are known to contract the disease more often than others. Asians usually have the lowest risk, with Europeans and African-Americans having higher risk, respectively. It is also suspected that lifestyle plays a large part in your risk, because if you are Asian but live in the United States for an extended period of time, your risk of prostate cancer starts to approach the same level as other Caucasian Americans.

Prostate Cancer Tests

There are a variety of tests that are used to detect the presence of prostate cancer. Your physician will often conduct more than one test before coming to a definitive answer. A diagnosis is more reliable after a number of different tests have been performed.

The Rectal Examination

Laughed at by many people, this test involves the insertion of a gloved and lubricated finger into a patient's rectum in order to feel the size and shape of the prostate gland. This is effective for the detection of an enlarged prostate, but be aware that an enlarged prostate does not always signify prostate cancer. However, this is one of the easier and quicker ways of detecting some of the symptoms of prostate cancer.

Ultrasound

This involves the insertion of a small probe into a patient's rectum. After an ultrasound scan is conducted on the prostate, it reveals the current shape and size of the gland.

PSA Blood Test

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test is a common test used for detection. The presence of prostate cancer is inferred from higher than normal levels of this specific antigen found in the blood. However, this procedure should be included with other testing methods as well, since other conditions can result in high PSA levels.
Biopsy

If there is a reason to be concerned, a biopsy of the prostate gland may be conducted. This procedure is undertaken by taking a small sample from the prostate for analysis. This occurs by inserting a small needle into the prostate with the use of a small probe.

X-Ray

An x-ray of the bones surrounding the prostate may also be taken if cancer is detected. Prostate cancer very often spreads to the lymph nodes and bones. If any damage has been done to bones nearby, an x-ray will be able to determine if the cancer has spread.

Are you looking for information about
prostate cancer tests? For more important information on prostate cancer, the prostate gland, and prostate cancer prevention and treatments, please visit http://www.onlineprostatehealth.com for more information.

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