What You Should Know about Prostate Cancer Screening

Prostate Cancer Canada recommends men over 50 take an annual prostate cancer screening test

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Prostate Cancer Canada recommends a yearly PSA test for men over 50

At age 40, men should take a baseline prostate cancer screening test

The only thing worse than finding a tumour in the prostate gland is not finding it.

That’s why many doctors recommend men take the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. 
This test involves taking a blood sample to measure levels of PSA. A higher-than-normal amount of PSA is a possible sign of prostate cancer. However, controversy has surrounded this test because it isn’t completely reliable.

Increased PSA blood levels don’t necessarily indicate the presence of active cancer. It can sometimes occur when clinically insignificant prostate cancers are present – tiny tumours that may never become life-threatening and don’t require treatment – or when the prostate is inflamed. Still, evidence suggests that a rapid rise in PSA levels over months or years is a strong sign of aggressive prostate cancer.

Recommended Precautions against Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Canada recommends that men over 40 establish a baseline PSA value and that those over age 50 have annual or semi-annual PSA monitoring followed by digital rectal examination. Combined, these screening methods boost the chances of early detection, giving men who do have the disease the best chance of overcoming it.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.