There has been a great deal of discussion in the news, at medical meetings, within advocacy groups and among men for some time now about the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer screening. No doubt this has sparked questions for men who want to do everything they can to monitor their health and stay on track with their cancer screening program
If you have discussed the risks and benefits of screening for prostate cancer with your doctor and determined that you wish to be tested, what happens if your PSA comes back abnormal?
An elevated PSA does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. PSA information could signal an infection or other benign conditions, but it also can determine if you may have prostate cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
If your PSA or prostate exam points to the possibility of cancer, you should ask to be referred to a urologist. A more in-depth discussion on the limitations and usefulness of PSA tests can then take place, along with a talk about your PSA history, overall health status and quality-of-life goals and preferences.
You and your urologist should discuss the pros and cons of a prostate biopsy. The decision to proceed with a prostate biopsy will be up to you but you should learn all you can about the procedure so you can be comfortable with the decision to proceed. If not, you may want to seek a second opinion.