A prostate-specific antigen test may identify prostate cancer in its early days. According to WebMD, however, many doctors are now advising against routine PSA testing. Although it is best to talk to your doctor before making a decision, it may help to know the benefits and drawbacks of taking the test.
So why would you consider it?
For one, the test can help you detect prostate cancer early enough. This is useful because if the cancer needs to be treated, then the best time to do it is when it hasn't developed any significant symptoms or spread. Therefore, it may reduce your chances of dying from the disease.
The other reason is that the test procedure itself isn't a big deal. In fact, it is a simple blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. The antigen is also present in the bloods of healthy people, but its level rises when prostate cancer strikes. Therefore, the procedure itself isn't something to be feared.
It may also be a good idea to get the test if you are constantly worrying about whether or not you have the cancer, as knowing you don't have it may reassure you, and early detection can help in early treatment.
It seems this PSA test has its benefits, so why would some people advise you against it?
The first thing you should know is that the test isn't foolproof. There are other diseases, apart from prostate cancer, that can elevate the level of this antigen in your bloodstream. According to the National Cancer Institute, your blood may contain high levels of prostate-specific antigen if you have prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate) or prostatitis (an inflamed prostate).
The other reason is that even if the test is positive for the cancer, it might not be a good idea to treat it. The risks of treating prostate cancer include urinary incontinence, bowel dysfunction and erectile dysfunction. Therefore, if your cancer isn't overly aggressive, then it might not be advisable to treat it.
Finally, just like you can be calmed by knowing that you are cancer-free, you may also enter a state of perpetual worry if you have the disease. Again, this depends on your personality because some people get more worried while others appreciate the early knowledge.
Consult your doctor specializing in oncology to know more about the test. Your doctor may also help you to determine your likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Only then should you make a decision.Share
11 December 2014
My parents taught me healthy eating habits and I played outside a lot as a kid. Once I was old enough to work, I got a job as a waiter at a restaurant and kept waiting tables throughout high school and college. After college, I got my very first desk job, and my health started declining. I soon realized that even though I had never stepped foot in a gym, I was living a sedentary lifestyle for the first time in my life. I wasn't getting exercise playing outside or running around at work, so I decided to commit to going to the gym. My health began to improve and I now greatly enjoy bodybuilding. I know many other people are in ill health and can't figure out why, so I decided to start a blog to share my health tips and inspire everyone improve their health!