Prostate Cancer Screening at the ALTA Klinik
While cancer screening is an extraordinarily common feature of women’s healthcare, many men prefer to ignore recommendations for prostate cancer screening. Often, the reason for their resistance is an association with an uncomfortable examination involving the genital region.
The ALTA Klinik offers an optimal procedure for prostate cancer screening, a procedure that does not involve an intrusion into a man’s private areas. Our MRI scan of the prostate gives our patients a maximum degree of diagnostic assurance.
At the ALTA Klinik, men are placed in the MRI scanner where they are allowed to keep their underwear on for the entire examination. The examination provides information that is relevant to the prostate gland and its neighboring organs, including any conspicuous changes that may have occurred. We also evaluate the entire pelvic region and neighboring organs in the context of our prostate cancer screening.
Many factors such as the development of PSA levels, any prior diseases, family history, pain or other symptoms may also play an important role in the context of the examination. That is why the doctor and patient sit down for a meeting before every prostate examination. The purpose of the meeting is to explain the procedure, to gather information relating to the patient’s health and to give the patient an opportunity to ask questions and have these answered by the doctor.
In addition to the MRI scan, we also draw a number of blood samples to determine the patient’s PSA level and other important blood parameters relating to the prostate.
When to Begin Prostate Cancer Screening
We recommend that you begin prostate cancer screening at the age of 40. The procedure centers on a simple blood test to determine the level of PSA in your blood. This test should then be performed on an annual basis. While your PSA level does not provide information about any specific diseases of the prostate, an elevated or a rising level does indicate that certain changes have taken place in the prostate. These changes may be benign, inflammatory or malignant. PSA levels up to 1 ng/mL are generally regarded as unremarkable. However, as soon as a test indicates an increased level, you are advised to have the cause of the change clarified by an MRI scan of the prostate.
If your PSA level is elevated in absolute terms, an examination should be carried out to determine what the cause of the elevation is. It is not possible to determine the cause of an elevated level solely on the basis of a PSA score. However, our MRI scan of the prostate can provide the necessary additional information about the cause. You can therefore learn what has led to a conspicuous PSA level. This will give you and your doctor an opportunity to respond sooner, and not later, in case of any cancerous changes to the prostate.
Prostate Cancer Screening Despite a Lack of Symptoms
Many men think that prostate cancer screening only makes sense if they are experiencing pain or some other symptoms. The problem is that most of the men affected by prostate cancer have no symptoms whatsoever. On the contrary, they feel perfectly healthy.
Nearly all men are affected by an enlargement of the prostate gland as they approach middle age. This condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The likelihood of prostate cancer also increases as men age. However, not all men who have BPH are affected by prostate cancer and not all men with prostate cancer are affected by BPH.
It is instructive in this regard to consider the fact that age-related BPH is a condition that affects the transition zone of the prostate while most malignant prostate tumors develop in the peripheral zone of the prostate. Indeed, this suggests that there is no direct correlation between BPH and cancer, while there is a direct correlation between both conditions and aging. This also applies to the reverse case. Men may have prostate cancer although their prostates are not especially enlarged.
The exception to this rule is when a malignant prostate tumor has already reached an advanced stage and has begun to spread. In this case, a large and aggressive tumor may lead to an increase in the overall volume of the prostate. However, it is not often the case that men present with tumors that have reached such as advanced stage. In general, elevated or fluctuating PSA levels are the first indication of a disease.