Prostate Cancer

One in eight New Zealand men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Early detection can make a significant difference in the outcome of treatment, and it can be as simple as a blood test.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is found only in men and is a walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid.

Most prostate cancer is low-grade and does not spread and cause disease. Low-grade cancer needs monitoring, but not treatment.

Higher-grade prostate cancer can spread into the body and cause disease and death. Higher-grade prostate cancer is a significant cause of cancer death in New Zealand men.

Early detection lowers mortality from prostate cancer by 20-40%.

You are more likely to develop prostate cancer as you age. It does not usually cause symptoms, especially in the early stages. If a man has a change in his urinary function, blood in the urine or semen, or pain around the base of the scrotum, we will usually check for prostate cancer as part of investigating that symptom.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Regular prostate cancer screening is important because the lack of symptoms means prostate cancer can remain undetected for some time.

Historically prostate cancer screening was complicated. Difficulty in determining whether the cancer was low or high grade, led to the overtreatment of low-grade cancer and created controversy around screening for prostate cancer.

Today, studies have proven that screening and early detection improve survival rates. Determining when treatment is appropriate is also more accurate through technology, such as MRI scanning of the prostate and targeted biopsies, as well as improved diagnosis and management processes.

When and how to screen

For most men, prostate cancer screening should begin at 50, with a PSA blood test every 2 years, until age 75.

If there is a family history (father, brother, uncle) of prostate cancer occurring early the risk of prostate cancer increases and screening from an earlier age and more often may be appropriate.

About 90% of prostate cancers produce the PSA enzyme which will be detected on the blood test.

A digital rectal examination of the prostate can detect physical abnormalities of the prostate gland that may be caused by non-PSA-producing cancers. We understand some men may feel uncomfortable about a digital examination, but it generally isn’t painful and doesn’t last long. If a digital examination is not right for you, the PSA blood test checks 90% of prostate cancers.

A Well Man Check is a great way to take control of your health and introduce prostate screening. At Epsom Medical Centre, we encourage men at age 50 to have a Well Man Check where we’ll review your family history, check for any symptoms, and offer a physical examination, along with a ‘top to toe’ health assessment.

We’ll also order an initial blood test, let you know your results, and set up a recall for ongoing tests.

To book a Well Man Check email “Well Man Check” to info@epsommedicalcentre.co.nz with your details, and our team will arrange an appointment for you.

What happens if my test results indicate a problem?

If any of your test results are abnormal, we’ll talk through your results, what they might mean and what the next steps might be. Whether this is further tests or a referral to a specialist we’ll be there to guide you.

Further information https://prostate.org.nz/getting-tested/ https://kupe.net.nz/

General Information

102 Great South Road, Epsom, Auckland 1051

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Closed Public Holidays