As you get older, screening for certain types of cancer becomes more and more important. For men, one of the most crucial steps you can take to look after your health is to go for regular prostate screening– especially after you turn 40, or if you have family history with prostate cancer.
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system, and is located just below the bladder. This walnut-sized gland produces fluid that makes up a part of semen, and as men age, the prostate tends to grow in size.
Prostate cancer is simply cancer of the prostate. Alongside lung and colorectal cancers, prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer for men.
Prostate screening is a test performed to ensure that you have a healthy prostate. The main focus of the test is to catch cancer early, before it causes symptoms and before it becomes a serious health issue. If not caught early, prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body, making it harder to treat and cure.
At Unjani Clinic, we use the ‘prostate specific antigen’ (PSA) test. PSA is one of the fluids made by the prostate, and this simple blood test measures the level of PSA in the blood.
PSA blood levels are often higher in men with prostate cancer, as well as other health issues related to the prostate.
However, high PSA blood levels do not necessary mean you have prostate cancer. Other factors such as some medical procedures, certain medications, an enlarged
prostate or a prostate infection could cause elevated PSA levels.
If your nurse finds higher than usual PSA blood levels, she will refer you to a specialist, who might recommend a biopsy to find out if you have prostate cancer. A prostate biopsy is a procedure that removes a small piece of your prostate so it can be tested in a medical laboratory.
All men are at risk for prostate cancer, but some factors may put you at a higher risk.
It is important to note that some people with lots of risk factors may never develop the disease, and others with less risk factors could still get prostate cancer. This means that it’s important to go for regular screening, no matter what your risk factors are.
The purpose of prostate screening is to catch cancer early, before you start experiencing symptoms. However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, visit your nearest Unjani Clinic immediately.
Urinating often, especially at night
You find it hard to completely empty your bladder
Pain or burning while urinating
Blood in your semen or urination
Back, hip or pelvis pain that doesn’t go away
Don’t forget – these symptoms may be caused by other
prostate issues that aren’t cancer, so don’t be afraid to get
tested. Whatever the issue is, your nurse will work with you to
find the right specialist, so you can get the treatment you need.
Visit your nearest Unjani Clinic for prostate screening today to catch any problems early and to ensure that your prostate is nice and healthy.