Prostate Cancer is the most common type of cancer for men in the UK. It is a major health concern for older men as theyíre more susceptible to developing it.
Cancer Research UK has seen approximately 47,000 cases new prostate cancer cases are diagnosed each every year between 2013 to 2015. This averages to 130 positive diagnoses a day. (2) It is predicted that 1 in 8 men in the UK will be diagnosed at some point in their lives. (3)
However, in recent breakthroughs in self-testing, it is possible to test for it in the privacy of your own home. In this article, we look at how men can self-test for prostate cancer in the privacy of their own homes.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
It is difficult to catch prostate cancer early as there are no clear indicators. Its symptoms donít manifest themselves until cancer has developed significantly and begins making urinating difficult. This is because, as cancer grows, it puts pressure on the tube which links the bladder to the urethra. This causes difficulties in urinating or increases in the need to urinate. (4)
Another symptom would be finding blood in your urine or semen.
Furthermore, an enlarged prostate is not always an indicator of prostate cancer. Many menís prostate gets larger as they get older and can cause these symptoms.
What is a PSA Test?
A PSA Test is a type of blood test that can diagnose problems with your prostate, including prostate cancer.
By providing a small blood sample, the test measures the amount of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) present in the blood. PSA is a protein that is produced by cells from the prostate and is present in the blood at low levels. An elevated amount in your blood can be an indicator of prostate cancer. (1)
As this test is monitoring the level of PSA in your blood. If you find an unusually high level and your doctor may then recommends you for further testing. This can lead to diagnosing before symptoms begin to show.
It is important to remember that this is not a conclusive test whether you do or donít have prostate cancer. It is not uncommon for men to naturally begin producing more PSA as they get older or from their prostate becoming enlarged.
What a PSA test provides is an indicator that there may be a problem with your prostate. With that information, you can see your GP for further testing.
Why Should You Self-Test For Prostate Cancer?
Self-testing provides men with the tools to take better control over their health and potentially detect prostate cancer earlier.
It is advised that older men (over 50) should have prostate exams with their regular health check-ups. It is more prevalent at this time in men'sí lives. This is because the symptoms become more apparent as cancer has grown to a size to begin affecting men's health.
If younger men take PSA tests, it can help lead to an early diagnosis and catch prostate cancer in its infancy. This gives you a better chance in either eradicating it or successfully managing it to not impact your life expectancy or lifestyle.
While PSA testing is available with a recommendation from either a GP or registered nurse, this is only if you meet certain risk requirements. If prostate cancer runs in your family or you shows signs of symptoms, you may be recommended.
If you donít meet these risk requirements, it is unlikely you would be.
However, if this is a concern of yours and you want to take a PSA test, it is possible for men to take matters into their own hands.
Self-testing is not limited to doctorsí and nursesí recommendations. You can purchase your self-test kits. Simply provide a small blood sample and, after sending it to a private laboratory, you can find out how much PSA is present in your blood. With this information, you can approach your GP or nurse for further investigation and testing.
Self-testing acts as another tool to help spot and diagnose prostate cancer earlier and easier.
At Chemist Direct, we understand the risk and impact prostate cancer can have to men and their families. It is why we work with LetsGetChecked and SelfCheck, leading self-testing providers in Britain, to provide PSA tests to our customers. Check them out today.
This article has been medically approved by Superintendent Pharmacist Shilpa Shailen Karia, MRPharmS. - GPhC Reg No: 2087328