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A focus on...prostate cancer

For this blog post, we will be focussing on prostate cancer, your risk of developing it, the typical symptoms and PSA testing, including how the practice advocates opportunistic diagnosis if you are having a blood test for another matter.

What is my risk?

Men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer if you are:

  • are aged 50 or older

  • have a close relative who has had prostate cancer

  • are of black ethnic origin (double the risk)

Prostate cancer UK website have a 'check your risk' quiz, click the below to access it:

What are the symptoms?

Some of the symptoms you may notice would be:

  • an increased need to pee

  • straining while you pee

  • a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied

These symptoms should not be ignored, but do no mean you have prostate cancer. It is more likely caused by something else, such as prostate enlargement.

Tests for prostate cancer

There is no single test for prostate cancer, all tests to help diagnose the condition should be discussed with your Doctor.

The most commonly used tests for prostate cancer are:

  • blood tests (PSA test)

  • a physical examination of your prostate (a rectal examination)

  • an MRI scan

  • a biopsy

PSA testing

This blood test, called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, measures the level of PSA and may help to detect early prostate cancer.

It is important to note that PSA tests are not routinely used to screen for prostate cancer, as results can be unreliable. PSA levels can be raised due to a number of conditions, such as a urinary infection, an enlarged prostate, prostatitis or prostate cancer.


How do I approach the practice?

If you are concerned that you are exhibiting symptoms of prostate cancer, you should always approach the practice for a GP appointment to discuss. The GP can discuss your symptoms and organise diagnostic tests where appropriate.

If you are a gentleman aged over 50 years and have not had a PSA blood test in the last 12 months, then you can request to have a PSA blood test prior to a GP appointment. This can either be via booking a blood test appointment or by asking for your PSA to be tested when you attend for a blood test for another condition.

If you have a PSA test, you must book an appointment to discuss the results with a GP, so you can discuss your concerns that led you to request the test.

If you decide you want a PSA test, you should refrain from sexual activity and vigorous exercise, such as cycling, in the 2 days before the test as they can affect the PSA level.


Further reading

If you would like to read further around this topic, the NHS and website have some great resources, a link to these are below:


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