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PSA Testing: To Test or Not to Test

By Stephen Dierks, MD – Urologist, Laconia Clinic

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According to the American Cancer Society, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men. In fact, prostate cancer will strike one out of every six American men at some point in their lifetime.

But there is good news to report. With early detection aided by screening, and advancements in treatment, we have seen a significant improvement in quality of life and longevity for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer.

PSA TestingSince the 1980’s, Prostate Specific Antigen (or PSA) tests and Digital Rectal Exams (DRE’s) have been the most common tools used in prostate cancer screening.

In recent years, there has been some controversy around the usefulness of PSA testing in screening for prostate cancer. However, studies are not yet clear. While there is some concern about “overdiagnosis” and “overtreatment,” there is also evidence that PSA testing does result in the detection of prostate cancer in more men at an earlier stage.

This leaves many men asking the question, “Should I get a PSA test?” That answer lies with you and your primary care provider. He or she is the best person to discuss with you the pros and cons of PSA testing, and he or she can help you to decide whether PSA testing is right for you. If you and your doctor determine that this screening test is in your best interest, know that a PSA test is a simple blood test.

Dr. Stephen Dierks is a board-certified urologist at Laconia Clinic, specializing in both adult and pediatric urological issues. To make an appointment with Dr. Dierks, please call 527-2709.