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Blog / Cancer, Early Detection, Healthcare Trends, Prostate Health

The Prostate PSA Test

Nov. 12 2019 by Sheherzad Raza Preisler Blog Editor, PR, & Social Media Coordinator
The Prostate PSA Test

The prostate is a tiny gland about the size of a ping-pong ball nestled in the groin between the rectum and the base of the penis. The organ is responsible for providing the body with seminal fluid, which helps sperm travel and survive as it’s attempting to fertilize the egg during the reproductive process. 

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that approximately 1 in 9 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his life. The ACS estimates that in 2019, there will be over 174,000 new cases of prostate cancer and over 31,000 deaths related to the disease in the United States alone. 

The key to fighting prostate cancer successfully is early detection. If you catch prostate cancer while it’s still confined to the prostate or its nearby organs, the chances you survive at least five years is almost 100%. This likelihood decreases by about 70% if you catch prostate cancer once it has spread to distant body parts. The disease has a variety of risk factors that could increase your likelihood of developing it, such as your race, age, family history, and geographical location.

Prostate cancer can be difficult to detect early because it’s generally asymptomatic, especially in its early stages. However, symptoms of prostate cancer may include:

  • The urge to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Pain in the back, chest, or hips
  • Blood in the semen or urine
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Trouble urinating, such as a weak urinary stream
  • Erectile dysfunction

The current gold standard in prostate cancer detection is the PSA test; PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by cancerous and non-cancerous prostate tissue alike. The PSA test, which is carried out via a blood test, can detect high levels of PSA that could indicate prostate cancer. However, various other conditions, such as an inflamed or enlarged prostate, can also present with heightened PSA levels. This makes determining the root cause of a high PSA score more difficult.

A 2012 review deemed PSA tests only about 21% accurate in detecting prostate cancer. And that’s where Ezra comes in: we use a different approach that involves harnessing MRI technology, which can detect over 90% of prostate cancers, to screen our members for prostate cancer. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Ezra prostate scan, you may do so–as well as learn about our other screening options–by following this link.