Preventive care prostate cancer

Prostate cancer screening

Screening helps to detect prostate cancer at an early stage, when the chances of successful treatment are good. Despite this, prostate cancer screening is frequently the subject of intense debate among specialists. The physicians at alta uro are available to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about prostate cancer screening.

Who is eligible for prostate cancer screening?

Prostate cancer screening is available for men aged 45 and above who are healthy enough to have a remaining life expectancy of over 10 years. If risk factors such as prostate cancer in a first-degree relative are present, screening is recommended starting at age 40.

What does screening involve?

Two examinations are especially important:

  • Measurement the level of prostate-specific antigens (PSA) in the blood
  • Palpation of the prostate with a finger, known as a digital rectal examination

While these examinations may suggest the presence of prostate cancer, they cannot provide a definitive diagnosis. If the blood test or palpation of the prostate reveal abnormalities, further examinations are needed. The next step is to perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides a visualisation of the prostate and makes it possible to identify potential tumours. If the MRI substantiates the suspicion of prostate cancer, tissue samples will be taken from the prostate. This is known as a prostate biopsy.

What are the advantages of prostate cancer screening for men?

Extensive scientific research has shown that prostate cancer screening greatly decreases the likelihood of dying of prostate cancer. This means that some men who undergo prostate cancer screening can be successfully treated for a cancer that might otherwise have been diagnosed too late. Prostate cancer screening saves lives.

What are the risks of prostate cancer screening?

Since PSA levels and palpation are not enough for a conclusive diagnosis, further examinations are needed. This can result in “overdiagnosis”, since not every man who undergoes further testing will ultimately be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although magnetic resonance imaging can reduce the number of biopsies needed, overdiagnosis remains a risk. Moreover, not every instance of prostate cancer is so aggressive that treatment is necessary. This means that a man may be diagnosed with a prostate cancer that would never have become life threatening. The concept of active surveillance has been introduced to counteract the issues associated with this “overtreatment”.