Being vigilant and knowing how to detect prostate cancer before it is able to spread, is a vital pressing men’s health issue today. Internationally, prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer found in males. In the United States, it is estimated that prostate cancer will be diagnosed in approximately 248,530 males in the United States in 2021 and account for approximately 34,130 deaths.
The survival rate for all types of cancer is measured as a percentage that is based on a five-year relative survival rate calculated by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.
The survival rate for men with regional prostate cancer that doesn’t spread to any other parts of the body is very high and almost 100%. However, the five-year survival rate is massively lower for men who develop distant metastasis, meaning the prostate cancer has spread around the body and beyond the pelvis.
The Important Role of Education in Detecting Prostate Cancer Early
It is essential that men are well educated on how they can check their prostate properly and look out for the key signs and symptoms of prostate cancer to try and detect it early. Sadly, men tend to be less likely than women to seek help from a medical practitioner and neglect their health. Ways men can be informed about the practical process of how they can check their bodies for signs of prostate cancer include TV announcements, online medical tutorial videos, and special educational workshops, providing information on prostate cancer ran by various organizations.
The survival rate is much higher for those in the earlier stages of prostate cancer, and therefore, the early detection for it in men is so important. So, it’s very important for healthcare providers to spread the word amongst men about making a habit out of regularly checking their prostate for indications of prostate cancer.
There is also a lot of data and information from reliable medical sources online. To find out more about how early detection can improve the prostate cancer survival rate, you may want to read the blogpost article from Ezra, a provider of innovative prostate MRI scans that use Artificial Intelligence to help oncologists detect and diagnose prostate cancer.
The Early Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Men Should Look Out For
The survival rate for prostate cancer in men is nearly 100% when it is detected early on, and therefore it’s crucial for men to know how to properly look for its symptoms to offer them the best chance of survival.
According to the Prostate Conditions Education Council(PCEC), the typical symptoms for prostate cancer are:
- Frequent urination, in particular during the night-time
- The inability to pass urine
- Blood or ejaculation in the urine
- Pain or a burning sensation whilst urinating
- Pain in the back, hips, or ribs
Other Ways Men Can Detect Prostate Cancer Early On
Annual Physical Check Up from the Physician
From the age of 50 onwards, males should have an annual physical observation performed by a physician to assess their general health and check for prostate cancer. It is important for men to make sure that they attend their annual physical examination so that doctors can perform a digital rectal exam on them, one of the early-stage screening methods for prostate cancer. The digital rectal examination should be painless procedure. If a physician notices any lumps which he or she believes could be cancerous tumors in your prostate, they will immediately escalate it and refer you to undergo further examinations from a specialist oncologist and ensure you have an MRI scan to look at your prostate in more detail.
PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) Blood Tests
PSA blood tests are the best way of detecting if you have prostate cancer. PSA blood tests measure the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. Males who are above the age of 50, overweight or obese, and those with a hereditary family medical history of prostate cancer should all get PSA blood tests at least once a year.
You can either get a PSA blood test in a healthcare facility such as at the doctor’s office or in a hospital, or alternatively you can now get at-home PSA blood test kits. However, it is widely believed that at-home tests can be unreliable, and you are better off relying on the expertise of a trained medical doctor who does PSA blood tests regularly on patients.
The results from PSA blood tests may be able to detect your prostate cancer in its early stages and effectively save your life by catching it before it manages to spread beyond the pelvis and to the rest of your body.
A prostate biopsy is the next stage after you have had a PSA blood test that indicates that you may have prostate cancer.
A prostate biopsy is a little bit invasive, but it shouldn’t be a painful procedure.
It involves using thin needles to extract small tissue samples directly from the prostate. The tissues are then looked at under a microscope in a medical laboratory and checked for cancer. If a cancer is found to be present, the biopsy will indicate how aggressive the prostate cancer is and how likely it is to quickly spread outside of the prostate to the rest of the body.
There are two main types of prostate biopsy that you can have:
Trans-rectal Ultrasound (TRUS) Guided Biopsy
The main advantage of having a prostate biopsy done is that it is the only way to know for sure if you have cancer in your prostate. A prostate biopsy also gives you a good idea of your prognosis by telling you how aggressive a cancer is. But most importantly, having a biopsy means you can detect a fast-growing cancer in your prostate in its early stages and quickly give it treatment to stop it from spreading to the rest of the body.
In the US health system, before you can have a prostate MRI scan to look at your prostate, you are often required to have a prostate biopsy first so that your health insurance will cover the prostate MRI. A prostate MRI contrast scan will provide doctors and oncologists with very detailed images of your prostate and its tissues to help them to identify if there is cancer in your prostate.
If you have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, an MRI scan will help to confirm whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body outside the prostate yet.
Multiparametric MRI Scans (mpMRI)
Multiparametric MRI scans are a special type of MRI scan that helps to provide more detailed images of your prostate than a standard MRI can by combining four different types of images.
Men in today’s era have plenty of tools at their disposal to help them keep on top of their health and get their prostate checked out regularly. There are no excuses, and your loved ones may never forgive you if you fail to make the effort to easily detect prostate cancer early on and you don’t manage to get the necessary treatment in a timely fashion. So don’t let everybody down and check routinely for the signs of prostate cancer.