Prostate cancer is common among men older than 65. Most cases are treatable because they are found with screening tests before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Most men do not die from it.
The most common way to check for prostate cancer is to have a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. A higher level of PSA may mean prostate cancer, but it could also mean an enlargement or infection of the prostate.
Experts disagree on whether regular PSA testing is right for all men. Testing could lead to cancer treatment that can cause other health problems, especially loss of bladder control and not being able to have an erection. The decision to have a PSA test for prostate cancer depends on your doctor’s opinion and your preferences.
Because other problems can also cause your PSA to be high, your doctor may do a biopsy to figure out the cause. A biopsy means your doctor takes a sample of tissue from your prostate gland and sends the sample to a lab for testing.
Choosing treatment for prostate cancer can be confusing. You and your doctor may decide to treat your cancer with surgery or radiation. Or, if the cancer has not spread, you may be able to wait and watch to see what happens. During watchful waiting, you will have regular checkups with your doctor to see if your cancer has changed.