Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Are 4-D prostate scans necessary?"
Is it necessary for an older man to get a 4-D prostate scan? It's tough to know, because there is so much conflicting advice, but at this point only one of my doctors is recommending the 4-D. I'm 58 years old. Should I do it? Are there risks?
Prostate screening is a debated subjected. The correct answer for what to do depends on your case's specifics. I encourage you to discuss you case with a urologist (a prostate specialist) who can better answer your questions. The major concern and the reason we do prostate testing is for finding prostate cancer. Keep in mind that prostate cancer can be either fairly serious or relatively non-harmful. A lot of patients will have other prostate problems, such as benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH, which is not as serious a condition. The major distinction when considering cancer is if this is screening or diagnostic: Screening is done if there is no known prostate problem. This is a debated subject. The major debate is if the blood test known as PSA or prostate specific antigen can be helpful. That being said, there is no major society that suggests an imaging scan for screening. Imaging is not perfect, so seeing an abnormality would require biopsy (a painful procedure)--so doing so if there is no problem is not thought to be helpful. Diagnostic testing is when there is a prostate abnormality that needs to be followed up. This includes a nodule felt on exam or an elevated PSA. If this is found, then the desired procedure is a trans-rectal ultrasound guided biopsy. A scan alone is not sufficient according to the major guidelines--if there a problem then some tissue should be taken. Depending on you situation you may or may not need more procedures. Talk with a urologist about your specific case.
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