Prostate Cancer Testing

Dr. Peter Black, BSc, MD, FRCSC, FACS, Urologist, discusses prostate cancer testing.

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Dr. Peter Black, BSc, MD, FRCSC, FACS, Urologist, discusses prostate cancer testing.
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Featuring Dr. Peter Black, BSc, MD, FRCSC, FACS

Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds

There's a lot of controversy about prostate cancer screening.

We do have a couple of tests, one test is the PSA, the prostate specific antigen, which is a protein made by the prostate that is in the blood and we can measure that with a blood draw. And then we have the rectal exam where your physician feels the prostate.

Now these tests do pick up prostate cancer but they're not very exact so there's a lot of controversy whether prostate cancer screening is actually helping men, or just leading to more tests that may actually harm men.

In general the urologic community supports it because we have seen with more prostate cancer screening that the death from prostate cancer has decreased. And we're finding more patients with lower risk prostate cancer so we're finding it sooner.

Prostate cancer screening is such a big issue that there are well established guidelines. In general we recommend - there are different guidelines from different organizations. Traditional guidelines have been after age 50 you should have a PSA and rectal exam every year, at least until early 70s. At that point it becomes debatable again what the value is as a man gets older.

Newer ideas are that you actually check your PSA at age 40 to establish a baseline. And we know that that baseline level predicts the risk of getting prostate cancer later in life.

So if it's high in age 40 then you have regular testing thereafter, if it's normal at 40 then you check it again at 45 and 50, and then go onto routine screening.

Men who are considered high risk are men with brothers, uncles, or father, grandfather with prostate cancer, so family history, and also African-Canadian men have an increased risk.

Presenter: Dr. Peter Black, Urologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Urologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.