Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that afflict men. While there are some risk factors they can control, there are others that men are simply born with. That is why screening early and often for this type of cancer is essential. Here is some information about the importance of prostate screening and when to schedule your first screening.
The Importance of Prostate Screening
A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is used to screen for prostate cancer. PSAs are proteins that are produced by cancerous and noncancerous prostate tissue, which is why screening is a necessary step in catching prostate cancer early or ruling it out entirely.
The purpose of screening for prostate cancer is to give you peace of mind, as well as catch it in the early stages for the best possible treatment outcome. There are several factors a physician will take under consideration when reviewing your PSA numbers, such as:
- The size of the prostate gland
- How rapidly PSA levels change
- Medications known to affect PSA levels
Who Should Schedule a Screening?
In addition to evaluating your PSA numbers, several risk factors indicate you may be at higher risk for prostate cancer. These include:
- Age: As the body grows older, the risk of prostate cancer increases. Those ages 50 years and older are at a greater risk than those who have not yet turned 50.
- Diet: A person who consumes significantly more animal fats than vegetables is at greater risk for prostate cancer.
- Family history: If a member of your immediate family, or their siblings, was diagnosed with prostate cancer before they turned 65, you are at an above-average risk for developing prostate cancer.
- Inherited gene mutations: Scientists have discovered that the expression of gene mutations BRCA 1 and BRCA2 are closely associated with breast cancer. However, they are also known to increase the risk of other types of cancer in the body. When meeting with your physician regarding PSA screening, they may recommend genetic testing if your family has a history of cancer, especially if BRCA1 and BRCA2 have come up in a relative’s genetic testing.
- Race: Although scientists have yet to discern why, it has been observed that African-American men are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
If you or a loved one identifies with any of these risk factors, it is time to talk to your doctor about receiving your first prostate cancer screening.
Book Your First Screening at Richmond University Medical Center
If you are a man over the age of 50, it is highly recommended that you speak with your physician about the pros and cons of a PSA test. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for men, which is why screening plays a pivotal role in catching it in the early stages. In Staten Island, New York, Richmond University Medical Center offers several diagnostic tests that can detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages. Contact us today for more information.