PSA test is a common tool used by doctors to evaluate men’s prostate health. Prostate cancer was the third commonest cancer among males in Hong Kong in 2019. Early prostate cancer may have no symptoms and often go unnoticed. PSA screening can help to catch the disease at an early stage when treatment may be more effective. If you are at increased risk of getting prostate cancer, or noticed symptoms such as problems urinating, you are advised to undergo a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
Healthy Matters has partnered up with Adventist Medical Center in Taikoo to share with you this complete guide to men’s health assessment and PSA testing in Hong Kong.
PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your body. PSA is a protein produced by both normal cells and cancerous cells found in the prostate, a small gland that is located just in front of the rectum, between the penis and the bladder in males. It is normal to find a small amount of PSA circulating in the blood, but a high level of PSA may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. However, other common prostate conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis) and urinary tract infection can also lead to an elevated level of PSA.
PSA tests can be used as a tool to screen for early signs of prostate cancer. Early symptoms of prostate cancer can be similar and overlap with other non-cancerous conditions of the prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis. Therefore in situations where the possibility of prostate cancer needs to be ruled out, doctors may advise you to perform a PSA test.
PSA test can also be used for those who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment and check for recurrence of the disease.
PSA test is a blood test. You may be advised to avoid having sex or masturbating for 24 hours before the test, as PSA levels can rise after releasing semen. Fasting is not required before taking a PSA test.
During a PSA test, a small amount of blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm using a small needle. Blood tests for PSA are quick and relatively painless, you may feel a brief sting from the needle prick, but any discomfort usually goes away quickly.
There are no special precautions or restrictions and you can continue your daily activities as usual after the blood test.
If you are worried about your prostate health, or experience urinary symptoms that are concerning for prostate cancer, you should discuss with your doctor about having a PSA test.
You may be referred to a urologist or hospital that provides comprehensive urology assessment and treatment services to receive PSA testing and professional urology care.
PSA test is usually just the first step, alerting you and your doctor that more tests may be required to investigate the underlying cause. Alongside PSA test, doctors may also perform a digital rectal examination (DRE), where a lubricated, gloved finger will be inserted into your rectum to check for any abnormal lumps or texture of the prostate.
If a man has no symptoms of prostate cancer, and is found to have a slightly elevated PSA level, the doctor may recommend repeating the PSA test and DRE at regular intervals to monitor for any changes over time.
If the PSA level continues to rise, or if a suspicious lump is detected during DREs, the doctor may recommend other additional imaging tests to determine the underlying cause of the problem, including:
If prostate cancer is suspected, an MRI-guided prostate biopsy will be recommended. During this procedure, a thin needle will be inserted into the prostate to collect multiple samples of the prostate tissue, with the aid of ultrasound. The samples will then be examined under a microscope.
PSA test can be performed by a simple blood test and it can help pick up prostate cancer early before any symptoms appear. Early detection of the disease can also initiate timely treatment to stop the disease from spreading and causing symptoms. If you have an increased risk of prostate cancer, regular PSA tests can also be helpful in detecting any unusual change in the PSA level that could be an early sign of prostate cancer.
An elevated PSA level can also be caused by other common prostate conditions, limiting the specificity and sensitivity of PSA tests which may give “false-positive” results when the PSA level is elevated but no cancer is actually present. A false-positive result can bring huge distress and anxiety to the patient and his family, leading to additional invasive medical procedures, such as prostate biopsy and exposing patients to potential risks including serious infection, pain and bleeding.
On the contrary, a “false-negative” result can occur when the PSA level is low even though prostate cancer is present. The false assurance may delay the necessary immediate treatment for the cancer.
In addition, PSA tests may detect small and slow growing tumors that do not cause any symptoms at an early stage, not necessarily causing any life threat. However, a cancer diagnosis can agonize the patients even though it is a slow-growing prostate cancer that doesn’t need treatment.
PSA tests are available at the Urology Services under regular male’s body check up at Adventist Medical Center. The center provides high-quality urology services with experienced urology specialists and medical professionals. The center is equipped with advanced medical facilities to offer every care you need, from a basic examination to minimally invasive surgeries. PSA testing at Adventist Medical Center is one of the most commonly tested during a male’s body checkup.
Cystoscopy involves the insertion of a flexible and thin tube with a camera at the end into the bladder through the opening of the urinary tract (urethra), which allows visualization and examination of the prostate. It is a relatively quick procedure and can be done at the Day Surgery Care services at Adventist Medical Center.
Early detection saves lives. If you have any concerns or worries about your general health, the health assessment package available at Adventist Medical Center may be suitable for you. Medical professions will provide thorough and comprehensive explanation of medical reports and personalised recommendations.
Click here to learn more about the Health Assessment Packages available at Adventist Medical Center.
For more information about the Health assessment package and urology services at Adventist Medical Center, please contact their dedicated Patient Service Team at 2782 2202 (Causeway Bay) / 2309 5000 (Taikoo Place). Alternatively, you can make an online appointment for specialty services at Taikoo Place, your request will be processed and confirmed shortly.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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