If you’re like most men, you tend not to think about your prostate – unless there is a problem. In fact, some men consider the topic off limits or taboo.
But the truth is, you should start thinking about it sooner rather than later.
That’s why prostate cancer screening is important, especially if you know your risk factors.
Prostate Cancer Screening Age
Let’s talk about when you should start screening. First, talk to your doctor about your family history and your issues. That can influence when you start screening. Even doctors and researchers have differing views.
Here are guidelines from the Prostate Cancer Foundation:
- If you have a family history of prostate cancer or if you are African American, screening should begin at age 40.
- If you don’t have a family history or you’re not African American, screening can start at age 45.
- African American men, those of Scandinavian descent and anyone with a family history of prostate cancer are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. So, talk to your doctor about prostate health or see a urologist, who specializes in prostate health.
When to Stop Prostate Cancer Screenings
Researchers and doctors in favor of screenings say the earlier the prostate cancer is detected, the better the chance of a cure.
Those not in favor of screening say it’s because prostate cancer generally grows slowly, and the side effects of treatment and some invasive screening tests can be difficult to handle.
But also keep in mind, at least 50% of prostate cancers thought to be slow growing, turn out to be aggressive. The takeaway message is, you can’t be too careful.
The United States Preventative Services Task Force or (USPSTF) has the following recommendations:
- For men aged 55 to 69, having periodic screenings with the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test, a blood test measuring the levels of PSA, a protein made by the prostate, should be an individual decision.
- The USPSTF cautions that for some men, screening can lead to a false positive that can require additional testing, which can lead to complications.
- The USPSTF doesn’t recommend screening for those older than 70.
But again, it’s best to talk to your doctor because there are several screening methods. Some are more invasive than others. There are traditional prostate screenings as well newer screening tools that are less invasive and still provide accurate results.
Here are traditional screenings:
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: Generally, the higher the PSA level the more likely a prostate issue may be present.
- The Digital Rectal Exam or DRE: A physical test where your doctor will feel the prostate for abnormalities.
- When doctors find something concerning following a DRE test, the first step is often a biopsy, which while necessary, can be a difficult experience, uncomfortable and can also produce a false negative. That could mean a repeat biopsy.
But there are other screening tools that may lead to fewer complications.
- A less invasive screening tool is an MRI fusion biopsy. This combines an MRI with a transrectal ultrasound or TRUS. The MRI scans for abnormalities. The TRUS takes pictures of the prostate using sound waves.
- This test can even be done at the same time as a biopsy as well if needed.
- University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center is developing a urine test, which in studies say could avoid one-third of unnecessary biopsies. The test is called MyProstateScore test.
CyberKnife for Prostate Cancer
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have treatment options depending on the type and stage of cancer, your age and your health.
Surgery, chemotherapy, other drug therapies and radiation all treat prostate cancer. Sometimes doctors use a combination of treatments. The experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami are here to help.
CyberKnife Miami is a state-of-the-art cancer treatment center in South Florida that uses non-invasive radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer.
While there are different types of radiation for prostate cancer, our experts believe Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy or SBRT – the type of radiation used by CyberKnife — has distinct advantages.
“CyberKnife has few side effects. Its pinpoint radiation beams hit only the tumor, so we can give a much higher dose with a lot fewer treatments, leaving healthy surrounding tissue unharmed. There’s over 20 years of published studies to support it,” says Dr. Mark Pomper, board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of CyberKnife Miami.
- The cure rate with CyberKnife for prostate cancer is 97-percent.
- It’s noninvasive.
- There is no anesthesia or cutting.
- There are no risks of surgery like infection and long periods of downtime.
- CyberKnife treatments can be done in five therapy sessions over 10 days instead of 42 over three months with other types of radiation treatments.
- The CyberKnife radiation beams, which target and destroy the tumor, are exceedingly precise.
- There is less risk of side effects including impotence and incontinence.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, call CyberKnife Miami for a consultation at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now for more information.
We will walk you through the treatment process every step of the way. Before, during and after. We will make the process as easy, quick, and effectively as possible with the least disruption to your life, while maintaining your quality of life.
We put patients first and that you can count on.
We want to help you get cancer behind you and on with living life to the fullest.