Prostate Cancer Screening: Do You Know the Facts?
Northwestern MedicineCancer Care/Oncology November 30, 2014
While prostate cancer is a relatively well-known men’s health issue, not everyone knows how screening for prostate cancer works. The most widely used lab method is called the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test. This test measures the how much PSA – which is an enzyme that is produced by the prostate – is present in a man’s blood. Normally, the amount of PSA present in a man’s blood is low, but when the prostate has cancer, the amount tends to increase. However, increased PSA levels can also be caused by a benign enlargement or inflammation of the prostate.
To help address this issue a new test, call the Prostate Health Index (phi) was recently approved as a way to help physicians distinguish prostate cancer from benign conditions by utilizing three different PSA markers (PSA, FreePSA and p2PSA). By using these three different PSA markers, the phi test is able to more reliably determine the probability of cancer in patients with elevated PSA levels than PSA testing alone, effectively reducing the need for many men to undergo a biopsy.
Listen to Northwestern Medicine urologist, Joshua Meeks, MD, PhD, and member of the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University, discuss these screening methods in detail.