Critical Thinking for Early Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer
The best outcomes in cancer treatment can be achieved with early diagnosis. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is unique in that it is the only tissue-specific biomarker that can aid in the early diagnosis of cancer, in addition to its use for post-treatment monitoring. PSA is only expressed in prostate tissue and, in combination with a digital rectal examination (DRE), is an effective screening tool for the diagnosis and early detection of prostate cancer.
Although controversy continues to surround the use of PSA testing as a screening aid, much of that actually relates to misconceptions about how to implement PSA and how best to follow-up on a suspicious test result. The dramatic spike in prostate cancer detection and decline in mortality due to prostate cancer that accompanied the introduction of PSA screening in the early 1990s, and the results of more recent long-term studies in large patient populations are evidence of the value of PSA testing when properly understood and applied.
Prostate cancer represents 27% of all cancers in men and is the second deadliest form of cancer in this population. In 2016, an estimated 26,000 men died of prostate cancer. The disease is especially prevalent among African-American men and men who have first-degree relatives with prostate cancer. More aggressive prostate cancer tends to occur more often in younger men....