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Prostate Cancer Tests

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Early detection of prostate cancer

Early detection of prostate cancerMany prostate cancers will not actually progress sufficiently to cause harm in a man’s lifetime. For this reason, prostate cancer detection is done on an individual basis, taking into account each man’s risk factors. Men above the age of 60, or those with a strong family history, may choose to be screened by their general practitioner.

For more information, see Early Detection of Prostate Cancer.


Digital rectal examination (DRE)

Digital rectal examination imageA digital rectal examination (DRE) is an important element of a clinical examination, performed by a doctor or nurse. It is a direct examination of the rectum and nearby organs, including the anal canal, prostate and bladder. While it can be uncomfortable, a DRE is critical to identifying illnesses such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis (infection of the prostate), haemorrhoids, anal fissures, prostate cancer and anal and rectal cancers.

For more information, see Digital Rectal Examination.

Genetic typing of cancers

Genetic typing of cancers imageIndividuals that inherit a genetic mutation from their parents are at a greater risk of certain types of cancers. Familial cancer syndromes are the group of cancers where patients inherit genes that do not function properly, increasing the risk of developing cancer.

For more information, see Genetic Typing of Cancers.

The Gleason score

Gleason score imageThe Gleason system is the most widely used system of grading prostate cancer. A Gleason score can be calculated from a sample of prostate tissue, such as in needle biopsies, core biopsies or surgically removed prostate tissue (such as in a radical prostatectomy). Treatments for prostate cancer, such as radiotherapy or hormonal therapy can alter the growth patterns and therefore change the Gleason score. As a result, Gleason scores are generally only calculated before treatment is started.

For more information, see Grading Prostate Cancer: The Gleason Score.

PSA testing

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) investigationProstate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein that is produced by the cells of the prostate gland and enters the bloodstream. A range of disorders involving the prostate cause its cells to produce more PSA. This raised amount of PSA can then be measured with a blood test.

For more information, see Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing.

Tool: PSA calculator


More information

Prostate cancer
For more information on prostate cancer, including diagnoses, types of treatments, and some useful tools, videos and animations, see Prostate Cancer
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Posted On: 19 July, 2010
Modified On: 20 March, 2014


Created by: myVMC