Prostate Cancer Screening: What Your Urologist Wants You to Know
While prostate cancer is treatable and often curable if caught early, screening recommendations vary.
Mon Health Urologist Dr. Shakuri-Rad encourages patients and physicians to approach the decision to screen for prostate cancer on a case-by-case basis.
“As with all screening recommendations, the recommendations are simply a guideline,” said Dr. Shakuri-Rad.
Prostate cancer screening is completed through a simple blood test that checks a man’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). Elevated levels of PSA or an abnormal DRE may be indicators of prostate cancer.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) released guidelines in 2012 recommending against PSA screening.
“Since then, we have seen a steady increase in advanced prostate cancer across the country,” Dr. Shakuri-Rad said.
In 2018, the task force changed its recommendation and now encourages screening on an individual basis.
“Screening varies based on each patient and how we can best preserve his quality of life,” Dr. Shakuri-Rad said. “Prostate cancer, if discovered early, is very much treatable and often even curable. I don’t treat a PSA number but my patient as a whole. Treatment should always be considered on an individual basis – not on one set of guidelines alone.”
Dr. Shakuri-Rad added that certain men are at higher risk for developing prostate cancer. Overall, it is estimated that men have a 1 in 9 chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. That increases to 1 in 6 for African-American men and 1 in 5 for men with a family history of prostate cancer in a first degree relative. Men with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer are also considered at higher risk of developing prostate cancer and should discuss screening with a urologist.
“It is generally recommended that men between the ages of 55-69, African American me, and men with a family history of prostate cancer get screened” Dr. Shakuri-Rad adds. Prostate cancer in its early stages often does not cause symptoms. At intermediate and higher risk stages it may cause urinary symptoms such as:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or discomfort
- Weak urinary stream
- Blood in the urine
At advanced stages patients may also experience:
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain in hips and lower back
- Unintentional weight loss
“If a Mon Health urologist diagnoses you with prostate cancer, we will discuss your treatment options based on your specific situation,” said Dr. Shakuri-Rad. “We have all treatment options available including advanced robotic surgery, but without screening, we’ll never have the opportunity to make that decision and potentially prevent the disease from progressing.”
For more information about Mon Health Urology, visit monhealth.com/urology or call 304-826-1693.