Advantages Associated With Prostate Screening
Last Updated: 21st November 2023 · Written by Nida Ali
The prostate is an important male organ, making prostate screening and testing very important, just as regular Breast examination is important and encouraged for women. Regular examination, testing and screening plays a key step in the diagnosis and surveillance of a number of benign and malignant diseases.
Let’s start with what is the anatomical location and function of the Prostate.
- This organ sits deep inside the groin below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It plays a key role in the reproduction process as it provides a major part of the seminal fluid.
- The seminal fluid carries the sperm cells through the male reproductive tract and is important to maintain the motility, nourishment and activation of the sperm cells.
- This fluid secreted by the Prostate, is also a signalling agent for the female reproductive tissues to facilitate the process of conception and pregnancy.
- The glandular tissue inside the Prostate secretes an enzyme called PSA. In simple words, the main objective of PSA is gel dissolution for active motility of the sperm cells. It is excreted out of the body through urine and semen.
Now that we have discussed the role and function of the prostate, let’s examine what are the various problems that can arise from the abnormal functioning and/or physiological changes of this organ.
Diseases Associated With Prostate
The prostate, like other organs, is susceptible to diseases and is becoming a major cause for concern for men above the age of 40 years. Diseases associated with Prostate include Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), Prostatitis and Prostrate Cancer.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
This a condition associated with the enlargement of the Prostate not necessarily cancerous. It is also referred to as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy or Benign Prostatic Obstruction. The factors that lead to this kind of problem are very obscure, however, they are narrowed down to age factor (40 years and above), family history of the same condition, obesity, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases, lack of exercise and erectile dysfunction. BPH causes blockage and narrowing of the urethra which leads to urination problems and an increase in the level of PSA.
The inflammation of the Prostate and areas around it called Prostatitis. It can be asymptomatic or it can involve a lot of pain associated with urination and/or in the pelvis. It has four major types: Chronic Prostatitis, Acute Bacterial Prostatitis, Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis and Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis. The factors that cause Prostatitis include urinary tract infection (UTI), nerve damage, trauma/injury and bacterial infection in which bacteria travel from the urethra to the prostrate. Complications include: bacterial infection buildup in the bloodstream, prostatic abscess, sexual dysfunction and inflammation.
- Prostrate Cancer – This is a form of cancer that develops in men mostly after the age of 50 years and above. Though it is a slow growing form of cancer, it can sometimes become a very serious and malignant disease. The onset symptoms include:
- excessive pain and trouble in emptying the bladder completely
- burning sensation and difficulty during urination
- traces of blood in the urine and/or semen
Prostate Screening Explained
As discussed above PSA is a protein secreted by cells in the prostate gland which are normally discharged out of the body through urine and semen. PSA is Prostate Specific Antigen, which as said before, is eliminated out of the body but a very small amount is absorbed in the blood. The normal PSA level range in blood varies according to age. The scale is adjusted according to the age because as men get older a benign enlargement of the prostate gland occurs. A general normal range of PSA is declared to be 4.0 ng/mL, however the age specific range is:
- 0-2.5: Normal for a man 40-50 yrs.
- 2.5-3.5: Normal for a man 50-60 yrs.
- 3.5-4.5: Normal for a man 60-70 yrs.
- 4.5-5.5: Normal for a man 70-80 yrs.
A PSA test plays an important role in the early detection of many diseases related to the prostate but the most important role is in the detection of prostate cancer. As a general principle, if the PSA level in the blood is elevated then it indicates that there is an issue with the prostate which requires further investigation.
The physiology of PSA demonstrates variable reliability in measurement with regards to Cancer Detection but it serves as a major baseline for diagnosis of Prostatitis, BPH and Urinary or Prostate infection. Adhyam M. et. al has discussed that the ability of PSA to detect cancers is as yet unclear, however, its most definitive role appears to be in diagnosing recurrences after adequate surgical treatment, and in evaluating response to treatment. Similarly, Michael K. David et. al has also stated that its usefulness in helping determine the extent of the malignancy, tracking its progress, identifying biochemical recurrences, and determining treatment response.
Thus, in conclusion, Prostate screening and testing can have numerous advantages and its importance increases with the age factor in men. As we emphasise on Breast Cancer awareness it is important that we keep in mind that Prostate screening and testing is as important in men. As very rightfully said, “prevention is better than cure”. It’s also important to note the we have a Prostate Health Test, which can help guide you to the answers you’re looking for and offer you peace of mind!