It is true that women drive healthcare. While you can expect to see the huge push for Breast Cancer Awareness in October with pink ribbons decorating everything from grocery products to your favorite NFL player, another important health observance month can seem to fly under the radar.September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. It is a month dedicated to raising public awareness for prostate health, educating about risk factors and symptoms of prostate cancer, and advocating for further research on prostate health issues. In observance of this month, you might hear from Las Vegas radiology experts about different methods to screen for prostate cancer and may become familiar with a certain term: Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test.
What is a PSA Test?
PSA is a protein produced by prostate gland cells. The PSA test involves taking a blood sample from a man and sending it to a laboratory for analysis to measure his level of PSA.Until recently, many Las Vegas radiology experts, physicians and health organizations encouraged an annual PSA screening for men age 50 and over. But as more has been learned about this prostate cancer screening’s potential harms, a growing number of professional organizations have begun to caution the public against routine population testing.A recent interview by Medscape with PSA’s discoverer, Richard J. Ablin, Phd., gives us background on why he believes the PSA test is unreliable. In 1970, Dr. Ablin was looking for an antigen specific to prostate cancer when he discovered PSA. Eventually he recognized that while PSA was present in malignant prostates, it could still also be found in benign prostates. When his research was first brought to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it was to suggest that elevated levels of PSA may help predict a recurrence of prostate cancer in men who were believed to be in remission.However, over two decades later, the FDA approved the use of PSA for population screening as a possible predictor of prostate cancer, which Dr. Ablin considers misuse of the discovery.While expensive marketing and a concern to save those truly at risk for prostate cancer encourages widespread use of PSA screening, an alarming false positive rate of 78% needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, this high false positive rate leads to many unnecessary biopsies, surgeries and radiation treatments doing harm to many patients to save the few. While it is neither ideal to do away with screenings and avoid over diagnosis or continue to subject patients who don’t need treatment so we can identify those who really do, it is apparent that further research on PSA must be conducted to improve the status quo.In light of this information, Las Vegas radiology experts at Steinberg Diagnostic urges patients to ask many questions about this topic with their physicians before going through with any specific procedures. Understanding both the harms and benefits of the PSA test will allow you to evaluate what actions you are comfortable taking. It is also important to seek a second or even third opinion if you do not feel comfortable with your doctor’s recommendation. You have the most to gain when empowered with information, so take charge with your health.To learn more, UsToo (http://www.ustoo.org) is a great charity that offers prostate cancer awareness, education, and support. And when you’re out and about this weekend, be sure to come visit the SDMI Street Team at this Saturday’s “This One’s For the Boys,” a run/walk event that benefits cancer research, assistance and education: http://nevadacancercoalition.org/4th-annual-this-ones-for-the-boys-prostate-cancer-walk-run/. It’s always fun event with lots of prizes and great giveaways.To schedule a consultation with the radiologists Las Vegas residents trust most, contact Steinberg Diagnostic at 702.732.6000.