Prostate Cancer Tumour Marker Test Screening

Prostate Cancer Tumour Marker Test Screening

Prostate cancer tumour marker test

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Cancer that develops in the prostate is known as prostate cancer. The prostate is a little walnut-shaped gland that secretes seminal fluid. The fluid feeds and carries sperm. One of the most prevalent cancers for men is prostate cancer. Some prostate tumours may develop slowly in the prostate gland and may remain localised, requiring little to no therapy. However, others are aggressive and can spread very quickly. Early-stage prostate cancer that is still contained to the prostate gland provides the best prognosis for recovery. Prostate cancer tumour marker tests are an easy way we can screen for prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Tumour Marker Test

Prostate cancer is frequently fatal when the cancer is advanced and has metastasised. Getting the right treatment at the right time may depend on early detection. A prostate cancer tumour marker test called the PSA test is used to screen for prostate cancer. Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by tissue in the prostate. It is produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous cells, but a high level of PSA in the blood may be a sign of prostate cancer. PSA tests are used to screen for PSA levels in the blood.

If an elevated level of PSA is detected via a PSA test, the doctor may order further PSA or other diagnostic tests to confirm the cancer. Examples of such additional tests include a MRI scan of the prostate, and also a prostate biopsy to check for additional indications of cancer.

An elevated PSA level however, does not necessarily mean the person has cancer, since it can be also due to numerous other disorders, such as an enlarged or inflammatory prostate.

Types Of PSA Tests

The typical PSA test for prostate cancer screens for total PSA in the blood. A PSA level of less than 4 ng/mL is considered normal. On the other hand, a level between 4 and 10 ng/mL is considered suspicious and may warrant repeat testing using a different form of PSA test. These include:

  1. Percent-free PSA. PSA manifests in the blood in two forms. One type circulates freely, whereas the other is bound to blood proteins. The ratio of the amount of PSA that circulates freely to the overall PSA level is known as the percent-free PSA (%fPSA). Patients with prostate cancer have a lower percentage of free PSA than men without the disease. If the test results are adverse, the doctor may recommend a biopsy to confirm the cancer.
  2. Complexed PSA. The quantity of PSA that is affixed to other proteins (i.e. the percentage of PSA that is not “free”) is directly measured by this assay. Although this test can provide the same amount of information as testing for total versus free PSA, it is not commonly performed.

When Should You Go For Prostate Cancer Tumour Marker Testing?

Prostate cancer is more typical in older men. As such, medical experts recommend that those aged 50 and above go for annual PSA tests. However, for those with a family history of prostate cancer, they should consider starting PSA testing from a lower age of 40 instead. If you are looking for cancer screening or health screening in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok that includes a PSA test, you can consider these packages from our healthcare partners.

Further Reading On Prostate Cancer

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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.