The purpose of screening for cancer is to detect the cancer at its earliest stages, before any symptoms have developed.
Some men, however, will experience symptoms that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Because these symptoms can also indicate the presence of other diseases or disorders, these men will undergo a more thorough work-up. Typically, men whose prostate cancer is detected through screening are found to have very early-stage disease that can be treated most effectively.
Screening for prostate cancer can be performed using the following tests:
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test measures a substance made by the prostate called prostate-specific antigen –-the higher the level, the more likely cancer is present.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) exam involves inserting a rubber-gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for lumps on or enlargement of the prostate.
- Transrectal ultrasound – your doctor inserts a sound wave probe into your rectum to check for any prostate irregularities.
- Urine test – a urine sample can be used to help detect prostate abnormalities.
If either the test above appear abnormal, the doctor will recommend a biopsy to determine whether cancer is present. Note: While these tests can be used to detect a prostate problem, they cannot determine the presence of cancer.