An Australian study has confirmed that men who receive treatment for early prostate cancer have a much reduced quality of life because of persistent impotence and incontinence. This is one of the factors which have determined that prostate cancer screening in men with no symptoms is not currently recommended. The current screening techniques – a blood test (PSA – Prostate Specific Antigen), rectal examination and rectal prostate ultrasound all detect benign as well as cancerous enlargement. Investigation is recommended for men with symptoms – difficulty starting urination, poor stream, difficulty stopping and having to get up and urinate at night. The PSA test is a source of much debate in the medical community and as recommendations change so they will here.
The problem in detecting some cancers very early is that they may not be relevant. What this means is that the cancer they may never cause any problems because other health issues are more likely to cause problems first. It is also quite possible that the immune system of the body may recognise the cancer and either stop or slow it’s progression and in some instances even remove it.