Prostate cancer

Cancer screening

Prostate cancer

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The purpose of cancer screening is to find cancers before they cause symptoms.

Screening is only used for certain types of cancer where there is a proven benefit from a safe and accurate test that can be used in a large number of people who do not have any symptoms. 

There is no national screening program for prostate cancer. However, some GPs use the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test as part of routine check-ups to monitor men for signs of prostate problems.

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made by cells in the prostate. It can be measured using a blood test.

PSA levels can be raised in a number of situations, which include:

  • prostate cancer
  • an infection in the prostate
  • recent sexual activity
  • benign prostatic hypertrophy or enlarged prostate
  • urinary tract infection.

The PSA blood test alone isn’t a reliable way to detect prostate cancer.

It can be used together with digital rectal examination (DRE) to monitor men with a family history of prostate cancer. 

The PSA test can also be used as part of active surveillance for some men with prostate cancer.

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

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