The idea of having prostate cancer can scare even the toughest person, but there are many different methods today that find the disease quickly so doctors can do something about it. Having to go through screening tests for any disease is nerve-racking but it is important to make a smart decision, even when it has to do with a prostate cancer diagnosis. There are some basic tests that one goes through to test for prostate problems, and these usually occur between the ages of 40 or 50. If certain problems can be found with these initial tests, then further diagnostic tests will be required to fully examine the growing problem with the patient.
The most basic test of all in determining a prostate cancer diagnosis is the digital rectal exam. This obviously cannot sound appealing to most men, but it is important to get this exam because 70 percent of cancerous tumors develop on the outside wall of the prostate. The procedure involves a doctor gently sticking a gloved, lubed finger inside the rectum to feel for anything suspicious on the prostate and that includes cancerous tumors. This will never be the exam of choice for men testing for prostate problems but it has proven to be effective and accurate and it is important that all men go through with this at some point.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
There is a bit of controversy about this test because many critics believe the blood tested can have high amounts of PSA for reasons other than cancer. PSA is a substance produced in the prostate and a small amount of it is found in the blood. If higher than normal levels are detected, it means the patient could have serious prostate problems, or cancer. This test is highly effective at determining cancer (somewhere close to 80 percent of the time) but people still oppose this prostate cancer diagnosis. It sometimes forces patients to undergo further tests that they did not require because the PSA test was inaccurate. However, in serious matters such as prostate cancer, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry.
If cancer is detected in the patient, there are many other tests used to make an even more educated prostate cancer diagnosis. Some of these tests involve taking tissue samples to a laboratory to be tested (a biopsy) while another potential test is a bone scan. If a doctor needs to know how far the cancer is spreading, there are more tests available to help him/her make the right prostate cancer diagnosis and help treat the problem as quickly as possible. These other tests include, but are not limited to, CAT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds and MRIs. Each of these diagnostic tests will help a doctor determine the severity of the cancer and help him/her tackle the problem with more efficiency. A patient should at least feel relieved that so many tools are readily available so problems like prostate cancer can be found quicker than ever.