Dr Okezie Emenike, medical doctor, has advised men the age of over 40 to undergo Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), blood test to reduce deaths from prostate cancer.
Emenike gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
He described the PSA test as a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in the blood.
According to him, PSA test can help detect prostate cancer at an early stage.
He said that the cancer was easier to treat and more likely to be cured if diagnosed in its early stages.
According to him, PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign) prostate tissue.
Emenike said that PSA would help to liquefy the semen, adding that the small amount of PSA normally enters the bloodstream.
He said that many other conditions such as an enlarged prostate or prostatitis could also increase PSA levels, noting that determining what a high PSA score meant depended on a man’s age.
He said that black men had a higher risk of developing and dying of prostate cancer and identified family history and high-fat diet, obesity as factors that increased risk of prostate cancer development.
According to him, PSA levels of 4.0ng/mL and lower is normal and PSA levels above 4.0ng/mL are considered as high which often a prostate biopsy is recommended to determine if prostate cancer is present.
Emenike said that besides, the PSA number itself, other factors were considered to evaluate a man’s PSA scores.
He listed age, size of prostate gland, how quickly the PSA levels were changing and taking medications that affect PSA measurements as the factors used to evaluate a man’s PSA scores.
He said that some prostate cancers, particularly those that grew quickly, might not produce much PSA and in that case, it could present what is known as a “false-negative”.
“This is a test result that incorrectly indicates none prostate cancer when the patient actually has it.
“While high PSA levels can be a sign of prostate cancer, a number of conditions other than prostate cancer can cause PSA levels to rise.
“As a man gets older, the risk of prostate cancer increases and after 50 years, chance of having prostate cancer increases substantially and majority of prostate cancers are found in men of 65 years and above.
“Prostate cancer screening can help identify cancer early when treatment is most effective and normal PSA test, combined with digital rectal exam is another way of making sure that prostate cancer is not present.
“A PSA test may help detect prostate cancer at an early stage, easier to treat and more likely to be cured if it is diagnosed in early stage.
“Not all prostate cancers need treatment, treatment for prostate cancer may have risks and side effects, including urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction or bowel dysfunction’’, he said.
He, however, noted that the number of deaths from prostate cancer had gone down since PSA testing became available, saying that a positive PSA test could be a lifesaver for men that needed treatment early.
Emenike admonished men to regularly undergo PSA testing, especially those with family history of high risk of prostate cancer development.