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Prostate Cancer Screening | Harms and Benefits

Prostate Cancer Screening Image

Prostate Cancer Screening | Harms and Benefits

Cancer can be defined as an uncontrolled growth of cells. When cancer happens in the prostate, it is referred to as prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in the United States after skin cancer. Prostate forms a part of the male reproductive organs, in addition to the penis and the testicles. The prostate surrounds the urethra and lies below the bladder, right in front of the scrotum. The main function of the prostate is to synthesize fluid that makes a part of the semen. As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size. This leads to the narrowing up of the urethra and the man experiences a decrease in urinary flow.

The common risk factors for developing prostate cancer are aging, family history, and race. Typical symptoms of prostate cancer are difficulty in urination, weak and interrupted flow of urine, difficulty in emptying the bladder, and pain during urination.


Prostate Cancer Screening

There are two tests that are commonly used for screening of prostate cancer. These are: Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. The digital rectal examination involves estimating the size of the prostate and feeling for lumps by insertion of a gloved and lubricated finger in the rectum of the person. The PSA test is done to measure the PSA levels in the blood. PSA is synthesized by the prostate. Higher PSA levels indicate the presence of prostate cancer, though PSA levels can even be higher due to other conditions affecting the prostate. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended against Prostate Specific Antigen based prostate cancer screening. This is particularly because it has been found that the potential benefits of this screening do not outweigh the expected harms.


Benefits of PSA Screening

People who advocate the use of PSA screening believe that it offers the following benefits:


Harms of PSA Screening

The risks of PSA screening are listed below:



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