There are two methods used by health care practitioners to screen for cancer:
- Digital rectal exam
Drawing illustrating the digital rectal exam. A normal prostate is smooth and rubbery to the touch. When there is cancer, its surface becomes hard and grainy. Most prostate cancers appear in the perepherical area of the prostate located very close to the rectum and which the doctor can easily reach during the digital rectal exam. The doctor palpates it in search of masses or a change in consistency, size and or shape.
TR is the most common method of detecting prostate cancer.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
The PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. The prostate makes PSA. It is normal to find a small amount of PSA in the blood, but prostate problems can cause an increase in PSA levels. The PSA test may be more effective than the TR at finding abnormalities in the prostate, but it’s not perfect for detecting prostate cancer. Sometimes the spike in PSA levels is caused by problems other than prostate cancer, and in men with prostate cancer, PSA levels are not always high. Combining these tests is more effective than using one or the other and that is why it is often done.
Accuracy of screening tests
PSA and TR go a long way in detecting prostate cancer at an early stage that is not yet a serious health threat. Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and can be present for years without affecting a man’s health. Detected at the beginning, they are generally easy to treat. It should be noted, however, that the digital rectal examination (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test are not 100% %. They can sometimes indicate the presence of cancer that is not one or the other way around.
References: We strongly suggest that you visit the website of the Canadian Cancer Society www.cancer.ca which is intended to be the most complete and which deals with the subject in a very scientific and above all very professional way. All the information mentioned above is more complete.