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Are Screenings the Only Way to Detect Prostate Cancer?

Feb 10, 2023

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By the time you’re 50, you should have a discussion with your doctor about starting regular prostate cancer screenings. These screenings are the most effective way to find cancer early, but they’re not the only method for diagnosis.

Cancer screenings are meant to detect cancer in its earliest possible stages. When cancer is found early, cancer treatment is typically far more manageable than when cancer has progressed into later and more severe stages. 

If you’re at an average risk of prostate cancer, you should talk to your physician about starting screenings around the time you’re 50 years old. High-risk men, such as those who have a close relative with a history of prostate cancer, should start 5-10 years earlier according to their risk. 

Our oncologists at Arizona Center for Cancer Care urge you to keep up with these screenings so you can begin treatment immediately after a diagnosis. You can come to our offices in Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, Anthem, Peoria, Fountain Hills, Wickenburg, Apache Junction, Sun City, Sun City West, Goodyear, and Tempe, Arizona, to start treatment right away. 

While screenings are the best way to find cancer early, even when there are no detectable symptoms, they aren’t the only way to diagnose prostate cancer. The process of getting a diagnosis involves multiple steps. 

Learn about the most common prostate cancer symptoms

Symptoms of prostate cancer typically don’t show up until late stages. While prostate cancer screenings can detect cancer long before symptoms appear, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the most common symptoms so you can contact your doctor right away if you experience them. 

Be sure to report common prostate cancer symptoms such as:

  • Unintended weight loss
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weak urine stream
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in semen
  • Trouble urinating

A diagnostic evaluation at Arizona Center for Cancer Care confirms whether or not these symptoms come from prostate cancer or rules it out as their cause. 

What a diagnostic evaluation entails

The standard test for prostate cancer screening is called a prostate specific antigen test (PSA). PSA is a substance that your prostate produces. High levels of PSA in the blood indicate prostate cancer as well as other prostate conditions. While PSA tests can provide false positives, other tests like Select mdx tests, the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), and PCA3 mRNA tests can help confirm the results of a PSA test. 

If you are 45 years old, now is an excellent time to talk to your physician about possible prostate cancer screenings for early detection. The American Cancer Society reports that prostate cancer is on the rise, likely because PSA tests were not among the standard recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force in 2012. 

If a prostate cancer screening has detected possible prostate cancer, you’ll need a diagnostic evaluation for confirmation. Multiple diagnostic strategies including imaging tests like multiparametric MRI or PSMA PET scans can further examine any growths that could be cancerous. 

Your cancer specialist can tell you what stage the cancer is in based on the results of an in-office imaging test, and this also helps them determine how to treat your prostate cancer.


In some cases, a prostate biopsy is also necessary. Your cancer specialist uses a needle to collect a tissue sample directly from your prostate. They can then examine the sample under a microscope for cancerous cells. This procedure is minimally invasive and only briefly uncomfortable. It can be catalytic in making a prostate cancer diagnosis and grading the cancer to determine the best course of treatment. 

Consider starting screenings today

If you’re in your late 30s or early 40s, now is an excellent time to talk to your physician about starting prostate cancer screenings for early detection. Schedule an appointment over the phone or online at Arizona Center for Cancer Care to get started today.