Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among males in the United Kingdom. 1 in 14 males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. There is now clear evidence that a personalised approach to prostate cancer screening is helping people to get diagnosed at an early stage and benefit fully from the new treatments. Any male over the age of 40, male with symptoms or a family history of prostate cancer should enquire about Prostate cancer screening and PSA testing.
Prostate-specific antigen, also known as gamma-seminoprotein or kallikrein-3, is a enzyme encoded in humans by the KLK3 gene. PSA is a member of the kallikrein-related peptidase family and is secreted by the epithelial cells of the prostate gland. PSA is produced for the ejaculate, where it liquefies semen in the seminal coagulum and allows sperm to swim freely. It is also believed to be instrumental in dissolving cervical mucus, allowing the entry of sperm into the uterus.
Prostate cancer also known as carcinoma of the prostate is when cancer develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow relatively fast. The cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. It may initially cause no symptoms. In later stages it can cause difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, or pain in the pelvis, back or when urinating. A disease known as benign prostatic hyperplasia may produce similar symptoms. Other late symptoms may include feeling tired due to low levels of red blood cell.
Factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer include: older age, a family history of the disease, and race. About 99% of cases occur in those over the age of 50. Having a first degree relative with the disease increases the risk 2 to 3 fold. Other factors that may be involved include a diet high in processed, red meat, or milk products or low in certain vegetables. Prostate cancer is diagnosed by biopsy. Medical imaging may then be done to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.