Check your prostate from 40 — top SA urologist
Men with a family history of prostate cancer should have prostate examinations from the age of 40, says a top SA Urologist.
Dr Dirk Ligthelm of The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, says these men should consult their GP or urologist for a prostate blood test (PSA) and a rectal examination. A PSA measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (protein) in the blood and a rectal examination allows a urologist to feel for irregularities on the prostate.
“An elevated PSA level and a suspicious nodule on the prostate on rectal examination should be followed by a prostate biopsy to detect whether there is cancer and at what stage it is. Appropriate treatment is then considered,” said Dr Ligthelm.
He added that men without a family history or with no symptoms of prostate cancer should start having annual prostate examinations from age 45.
Ligthelm explained that the latest trend in cancer detection in the prostate involves combining MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and ultrasound scanning, to create a 3D image of the prostate to more accurately locate suspicious areas and help diagnose cancer.
“This new approach is helping improve the detection rate and also helps make a better and more accurate diagnosis.”
The most common treatment for a cancerous prostate is a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) and minimally invasive robotic surgery is fast becoming the most effective option, added Dr Ligthelm.