It goes without saying that cancer screening tests are an important part of your annual or semi-annual physical examination. This is especially true for men over 50 years of age.
Prostate cancer screening is particularly vital – and this means getting the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA is a protein that is naturally produced by prostate. Usually, if cancer is present in the prostate, it will produce more PSA than noncancerous cells. This causes an increase in PSA levels in your blood.
Your doctor may also consider other factors when evaluating your PSA score, such as:
- Your age – because your risk of prostate cancer increases with age
- Your race – because African-American men have an increased risk of prostate cancer
- Your family history – because your risk of prostate cancer is greater if a close family member was diagnosed with the disease before age 65
- Your diet – because a diet high in animal fats and low in vegetables may increase your prostate cancer risk
- How drastically and quickly your PSA levels have changed since your last examination
- Whether your medication may be responsible for the spike in your PSA numbers
If warranted, your doctor may also conduct a digital rectal exam, using a gloved and lubricated finger to check the prostate for any abnormalities.
There are numerous advantages to regular PSA testing. For one thing, it may help you detect prostate cancer at an early and treatable stage – before it becomes life-threatening and requires more aggressive treatment. In fact, since PSA testing became available, the number of deaths due to prostate cancer have significantly decreased.
The test is easy – it can be done via a simple blood test. Plus, it provides peace of mind when the results are negative.
Innovative, New Treatment Options
If prostate testing indicates the presence of cancer, it is reassuring to know that there is an effective treatment in the form of CyberKnife® technology. Also known as The Beam of Life, CyberKnife is a safe, noninvasive type of radiotherapy that, unlike traditional radiation therapy, targets and destroys prostate cancer cells without harming surrounding tissue or organs.
That’s because CyberKnife utilizes a robotic arm for maximum precision, delivering high doses of radiation to the tumor with pinpoint accuracy. The procedure itself is more comfortable and convenient than standard radiation therapy, requiring as few as five sessions lasting no more than an hour long, with no downtime once it’s over. You can resume your normal activities immediately following your treatments and, best of all, there are few if any minor side effects.
For more than 30 years, CyberKnife technology has been giving countless patients new hope of recovery and a healthier outlook from a variety of cancerous and noncancerous conditions. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the CyberKnife system can provide an effective alternative to the hassle and possible side effects of traditional radiation therapy.