Details of PSA tests.
This is a frightening fact but if cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage, then the chances of a prolonged life expectancy or even a cure are significantly increased. We often hear stories that by the time symptoms appear, it is already too late. The PSA test is the simplest method of finding a problem with the Prostate (not necessarily cancer) before it gets out of hand.
It is a simple blood test which measures the level of Prostate Specific Antigen protein. The protein is found in all men but a raised level may indicate a problem with the Prostate – often due to an infection or an enlarged Prostate which is common in older men. It cannot identify cancer directly. The test is not foolproof and can give misleading results but it is the best test readily available.
The PSA test is not currently part of the NHS national screening programme – partly based on outdated data that showed many men went on to have unnecessary biopsies which, in themselves, could cause complications and further distress. These days a simple MRI scan will filter out patients who really need further treatment. Nevertheless, every man over the age of 50 is entitled to a free PSA test from their GP – you just need to ask!
It is recognised that medical problems in the area of the Prostate do not feature highly in mens conversation, nor are they likely to be discussed with their GP especially without symptoms, so the NMPCS, in conjunction with our neighbouring Prostate Cancer charity PCaSO, are pleased to offer the same test in more friendly and sociable surroundings. The events are run by men affected by Prostate Cancer and their wives/partners so there is ample opportunity to ask questions and hopefully put your mind at ease.
The test is offered to men aged between 50 and 79, or from 45 if there is a history of Prostate Cancer in close family members or if of Afro-Caribbean descent. We normally offer 2 or 3 testing sessions each year. Blood samples are taken by trained phlebotomists and are sent to a recognised professional Pathology Laboratory for analysis. The analysis for each man is reviewed by a qualified Urologist who writes directly to him, typically in a week to ten days. The Urologist includes a recommendation to continue testing on a regular basis or to consult a GP for further investigations.
The tests are offered free of charge although a small donation to the Support Group is always appreciated.
Note – we do not currently have a confirmed date for our next PSA testing event. Details will appear here as soon as they are available.