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Prostate cancer screening

Posted Sep 14 2009 2:32pm

Prostate cancer is a challenging topic to write about. Perhaps it’s because urologists have various opinions on how to interpret PSA readings and when to start treatment or surgery.  I remember getting my first PSA test in 2003. My doctor’s lab result sheet showed 4 was the cut-off point for a normal reading.  Above 4 was considered abnormal. These days, more doctors favor a cut-off point closer to 2.5.   And that’s just one point of possible conflict among urologists.

The good news is prostate cancer can be treated or cured if the tumor is found early and confined to the prostate.  Reuters has the latest on prostate cancer screening research:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE57U58A20090831

I’m not sure how to interpret this research. I’ll leave that up to the specialists. I would love to attend a conference of urologists. I have a feeling that if the topic of the night was whether a prostate biopsy was needed as soon as the PSA level topped the once magic number of 4, there would be a debate. Perhaps a spirited discussion is a healthy thing.

PSA tests and digital rectal exams are not perfect, but together they help doctors diagnose more early-stage cancers. Perhaps the day will come when there will be a definitive test to pinpoint prostate cancer. This is truly a baby boomer disease. If you’re a guy, and you’re approaching your 40s, talk with your doctor about prostate screening. Get tested!

Posted in Prostate health Tagged: prostate biopsy, prostate cancer, psa test
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