Prostate Cancer Screening
(PSA blood test, urine test and examination)
Many men start to experience urinary symptoms from the age of forty. This can be due to several causes; however, an enlarged prostate gland can be one of the commonest reasons. In most cases, the enlargement of the prostate is normal and occurs with increasing age. This is called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Unfortunately, the enlargement can also be due to prostate cancer and understandably many men are concerned about their own risk.
What is a PSA test?
PSA (prostate specific antigen) is a protein marker produced by the cells of the prostate gland. This can be easily checked by doing a simple blood test and provides a basic screening test for prostate cancer. The chances of prostate cancer increase with raised levels of PSA, although it can also be raised by normal age-related enlargement of the prostate gland and other causes. It may produce both false positive and false negative results and therefore cause unnecessary stress or false reassurance. It is for this reason, men must be counselled and be fully informed before proceeding with the test.
Prostate cancer screening
In order to screen for prostate cancer, it is also necessary to do an examination. This is because a man with prostate cancer may have a normal PSA test, but a cancerous prostate on examination. It is for this reason that we would recommend both a prostate examination and a blood test to screen for prostate cancer. We would also perform other investigations such as a urine dipstick test.
Limitations of a PSA test
Although a PSA test is very useful when normal. It can be falsely elevated by benign age-related enlargement of the prostate gland. This can be problematic as it may lead to further investigations which may not be necessarily required. This is why we fully counsel all men who request a PSA test and fully inform them of the possible outcomes. We would also recommend reading further information prior to a test: prostate cancer screening.
The PSA blood test may be affected by a number of physical factors and this can lead to falsely elevated results. Such factors include:
1. An active or recent urine infection (within the last 6 weeks).
2. Produced semen during sex or masturbation (ejaculated) in the previous 72 hours.
3. Exercised heavily in the previous 72 hours.
4. Had a prostate biopsy in the previous six weeks.
5. Had a medical examination of the back passage (digital rectal examination) in the previous 7 days
Booking a Prostate Assessment and Costs
The assessment can be done in one of our 30 minute Recommended GP consultations (£95). There is a further charge of £40 for the PSA blood test. Other bloods may be done at the same time at an additional charge. The consultation includes a full assessment of any urinary symptoms, prostate examination, urine testing and PSA blood test.
Results and follow up
Following your blood test and examination, your doctor will have all the required information to assess your risk of prostate cancer. If the PSA test is elevated or there are any other findings of concern, the doctor may recommend a referral to a urologist (specialist in urinary problems).
To book your appointment please select 'Recommended GP Consultation' by clicking on this link: Booking Page
It is helpful to write: 'Prostate assessment' in the reason for appointment.
This screening is also available as part of a more thorough Well Man Medical, with prices starting from £280.