Prostate cancer testing is something many men have to face at some point. There are prostate screenings your physician may encourage you to have done. This is especially true if you have a history of prostate cancer in your family. If your doctor suggests you should schedule prostate cancer testing, here are a few key points you should know about the prostate cancer exam.
One of the most common forms of prostate cancer exams is the PSA exam. This exam is a blood test based exam. The blood checks for a prostate-specific antigen. If it is found in the blood samples, your doctor will be notified of the results and will inform you. The key to this exam is timing. The PSA exam is usually done through a physician's office with an onsite lab. However, it can also be done at a hospital with the labs handled by a third party.
In many cases, your doctor may want to perform a digital rectal exam as the first step in the cancer testing process. This type of digital exam can let the doctor know if there is an enlargement of the prostate. Though many doctors are moving away from this type of testing, there are many doctors who still use it as a prelude to other prostate cancer screenings and testings. For example, you may have several issues you approach your doctor with. These issues can be signs of an enlarged prostate or other issues. The digital exam can help your doctor determine if there are prostate issues or if other issues may be causing the problems you are experiencing.
Current Health and Medications
There are times when your current health or medications can affect the testing outcomes. For example, you may be on certain types of medication that cause false positive readings on a PSA test. You may also have blood issues and other help complications that can cause a false negative. Before you have any prostate cancer screening tests done, make sure you consult your doctor about any issues you may have that would give a false positive and what your other options may be.
If you are having symptoms of prostate cancer, you should discuss the possibility of an issue and the testing. Your doctor can discuss prostate cancer testing with you. They can answer any questions you have regarding the test and what will happen after the test. The doctor can also help you understand what your options may be if prostate cancer testing results are positive.