Prostate Cancer

As men age, benign prostate condi-tions and prostate cancer become more common. The most frequent benign prostate conditions are inflammation ofthe prostate (prostatitis) and enlarge-ment of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia – BPH). There is no evidence that prostatitis or BPH causes cancer, but it is possible for a man to have one or both of these conditions and to develop prostate cancer as well.

Testing For Prostate Cancer

Most physicians will order a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test in order toscreen for prostate cancer. PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland and PSA testing measures the level of PSA in the blood. It is normal for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood; however, prostate cancer or benign conditions can increase a man’s PSA level. A man’s PSA level alone does not give doctors enough information to distinguish between benign prostate conditions and cancer. However, the doctor will take the result of the PSA test into account when deciding whether to check further for signs of prostate cancer.

Recommended PSA Testing

Most physicians recommend men age 50 and older have yearly PSA screenings. If there is a family history of prostate cancer, many physicians will begin screening at age 40.

Who is at Risk?

• Men over the age of 65

• Family history of prostate cancer

• Ethnicity (African American men have  a greater propensity of developing prostate cancer)

• High fat diet

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