Controversial test gets points
The PSA blood test may be a controversial diagnostic tool, but it may also save lives, according to the influential US Preventative Services Task Force. This panel released new guidelines for prostate cancer screenings, and they advise that males aged 55 to 69 years old should talk to their doctors about having the Prostate Specific Antigen Blood Test.
The new guidelines, which have been set in April, are in direct contradiction to the previous recommendation, as new evidence shows that having the test can help detect and prevent prostate cancer from spreading, thus effectively saving lives.
Prostate cancer develops slowly, which is unsurprising seeing as it affects mostly older men, whose cell reproduction is much slower than that of their younger counterparts. It is for this reason that healthy men who are 70 years old and older may not have the test performed.
The PSA test is controversial because there is a risk of “false positives”, which then leads doctors to prescribe a treatment course which is inadequate for the patient’s actual ailment. In the past, misdiagnoses have led men to go through treatments that cause incontinence and impotence as well as other adverse effects. This is why the test was not recommended for healthy men of any age, up until this point.
However, prolonged clinical trials have shown that the test can in fact improve one’s chance of surviving, even if on a very small scale, which is why the younger risk group is now recommended to at least discuss this type of screening with their doctors.
Staying alert and doing frequent check-ups is very important when it comes to prostate cancer, seeing as this illness can often develop and grow with no obvious symptoms at all. For men, particularly older ones, there are signs to watch out for, which include back pain as well as difficulty urinating, among others.
Certain foods may help fight cancer
Another recent study found that compounds which are present in foods like turmeric, apple peel and red grapes can help prevent and minimize the growth of prostate cancer cells. These compounds were tested in mice and human cells, and they have been proven to inhibit the uptake of glutamine, the protein that feeds prostate cancer cells and allows them to grow.
By preventing the body from using this protein, these foods effectively cut off its supply to the cancerous cells, delaying the progression of cancer. Better yet, they do so without causing any toxic or adverse effects.
While researchers warn that the concentration of such compounds in foods isn’t enough to effectively provide these benefits, the news is still encouraging for those hoping for new, less invasive treatment for prostate cancer in the future.