Looking after our health is something that should be a priority for us all – and this sometimes means detecting illness early. Over recent years there have been several high-profile campaigns to raise awareness of things like breast cancer and the importance of going for a smear test. This has resulted in the early detection of cancer for many people, which has helped with survival rates. Prostate cancer is still one of those cancers that people are embarrassed to talk about, which means that people don’t get tested or go to their doctor with any symptoms they find embarrassing. This means that it can sometimes be too late to help someone, once the problem is eventually found.
Detecting Prostate Cancer
The way that prostate cancer is detected is by looking at prostate-specific antigen. PSA is a protein that can be found in male cells, which helps to make their semen a liquid consistency. If a man has prostate cancer then this usually results in a raised level of PSA – although a raised level of PSA doesn’t automatically mean a cancer diagnosis is on the card. However, once a raised level of PSA has been detected then doctors will usually order a series of tests to determine what may have caused this – whether it is a medical condition or disease. The outcome of this will mean varying
treatments, however, if prostate cancer is suspected, this is when a biopsy would be ordered.
Your PSA levels could be raised for various reasons, so if you’re wondering how to lower a prostate-specific antigen level then don’t worry. Changes in diet (eating tomatoes or healthy protein sources), drink green tea, taking vitamin D and exercising more are all ways that you can naturally lower your PSA levels.
A Promising Discovery
However, over recent weeks there has been a promising discovery that has hope of detecting prostate cancer much earlier – great news! The UPSeq Test uses next-generating sequencing to check biomarkers (15 of them) to detect prostate cancer. It has also had really positive results in detecting prostate cancer that has previously been missed by imaging tests and biopsies. With around 1 in 2 people experiencing cancer in their lifetime, any advancement in technology like this has to be a good thing. We all know that with early detection any cancer has a better chance of being treated so any discoveries like this are an amazing thing.
How Did It Happen?
Discovered by the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, they have been working on a new urine-based test. In its very early stages of evaluations, it is outperforming existing tests in detecting cancer. They have put together a Urine Prostate Seq test that analyses urine collected from men, who will also need to undertake a digital rectal exam.
Currently, a biopsy is needed to detect prostate cancer – which many men find uncomfortable to think about and embarrassing to be referred to. It is thought that this new way of detecting prostate cancer could cut the need for these biopsies by as much as 35%.