How is Prostate Cancer diagnosed?
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, a campaign to raise awareness and understanding of this serious disease.
Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in the UK, and becomes increasingly common with age. The risk is higher in men who have close relatives who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The symptoms of prostate cancer can include problems passing urine – particularly altered flow. These can also be symptoms of less serious problems, like a benign (non-cancerous) enlarged prostate, or a urinary tract infection.
Men at high risk of prostate cancer may be offered routine tests. Sometimes a suspicious enlarged or abnormal prostate is found at a routine examination, or it may be found after symptoms become a problem. Prostate cancer can be deadly, but the prognosis is improving all the time, with sophisticated, accurate and rapid investigations meaning early diagnosis, early treatment, and better results.
Diagnosing prostate cancer
The process of getting an accurate diagnosis begins with further investigations. The diagnostic tools used might include a digital rectal exam, medical imaging and blood tests.
At 25 Harley Street’s Rapid Access Prostate Clinic, we provide a one-stop service for quick and accurate diagnosis, giving valuable peace of mind and enabling life-saving treatment to begin as soon as possible.
A panel of blood tests for someone under investigation for suspected prostate cancer includes a test called ‘prostate specific antigen’ (PSA). PSA levels that are higher than normal can indicate problems with the prostate. A high PSA level does not necessarily mean cancer, but it can give doctors an indication of the extent of a problem and should be followed up with more tests.
An MRI scan is a type of medical imaging which can give a very accurate picture of the inside of the body. It involves laying on a table which moves through a ring-shaped scanner. An MRI of the prostate shows the structure of the prostate, with any enlargement and areas of suspicious tissue. An MRI of the prostate may also be able to show if there is any local spread of abnormal cells.
If these tests indicate prostate cancer, a biopsy – a small tissue sample – may be taken to find out more and guide treatment.
As with all cancers, the earlier the problem is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. The early stages of prostate cancer may go unnoticed – symptoms usually begin when the prostate has become enlarged enough to affect the flow of urine. If the cancer becomes more advanced it can cause other problems like weight loss, pain, erectile problems, and blood in the urine or semen. Timely and joined-up medical investigations mean fast, effective treatment and better results.
If you have any concerns about your symptoms or risks, it’s important to seek medical advice. Contact our Prostate Clinic to find our more about 25 Harley Street’s world leading diagnostic service. Our world leading specialists at 25 Harley are here to provide support and guidance throughout the diagnostic’s process.