The significant prevalence of prostate cancer underlines the importance of awareness and regular health checks to ensure early detection and effective treatment.
What is prostate cancer and its symptoms?
Prostate cancer occurs when a malignant tumor forms in the prostate, usually in the outer part of the gland. Symptoms can be vague in the early stages, and it is not uncommon for men to experience no specific signs. However, symptoms may include frequent urination, difficulty urinating, weak urine stream, blood in the urine, pain in the back or hips, and swollen legs.
It is important to note that these symptoms can also be linked to other diseases, which makes regular health checks even more relevant.
Early detection through health checks
The majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have no symptoms and are usually detected through a simple health check that includes a PSA test. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced in the prostate gland and can be detected in the blood. Elevated levels of PSA can indicate a possible prostate cancer, making the PSA test an important part of the health check-up.
When should you do a PSA test?
Before the age of 50, prostate cancer is considered uncommon, except for those with hereditary risk. For those with early-onset relatives, consideration of PSA testing may begin as early as age 40.
Between the ages of 50 and 75 is considered the most relevant period for PSA testing. The risk of prostate cancer increases during this period, and even without visible symptoms, regular tests may be considered to enable early detection and intervention.
For men over 75, the decision becomes more nuanced. Although they may get a small prostate cancer, it is less likely to become serious during the rest of their lives. Screening for prostate cancer in this age group should therefore be considered individually, taking into account the overall health status.