The best way to be proactive in your prostate health is through an annual Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. You don’t have to be experiencing prostate issues to take this test. PSA testing should be a part of your standard physical, especially in men who are 55 or older.
But what happens if that test comes back elevated? A high PSA can be caused by several different factors and conditions. Cancer isn’t always the answer. In fact, it usually isn’t. Out of the one million prostate biopsies ordered each year, only twenty percent of them confirm signs of life-threatening cancer. However, it is important to identify why your PSA level is elevated. That’s why doctors are turning to PHI and 4Kscore blood tests to help gain insight on what your elevated PSA level means.
What is PHI?
PHI stands for Prostate Health Index. It is a blood test that combines three different tests to detect whether or not a patient has aggressive or benign prostate cancer. A PHI test is typically given to men over the age of fifty.
This blood test is three times more likely to detect prostate cancer than a PSA screening, which is why doctors prefer to recommend a PHI test before conducting more invasive procedures, such as a prostate biopsy.
The lower your PHI is, the better. If your PHI is low, your doctor will simply recommend an increase in checkups to monitor your prostate health. If it is high, the next step would be to conduct a prostate biopsy.
What is 4K?
The 4Kscore test is specifically created to identify signs of the more aggressive form of cancer knowns as high-grade prostate cancer. Like PHI, it is a simple blood test and does not involve any invasive procedures. The test was studied for over a decade by researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who worked with over 22,000 patients to prove its effectiveness.
Warning Signs for Prostate Issues
There are several warning signs to look for when identifying prostate problems. Those symptoms include:
- Frequent, painful, or difficult urination
- Blood or semen in urine
- Dribbling urine
- Difficulty having erections
- Painful ejaculation
- Chronic pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, or upper thighs
While the direct cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are certain factors that elevate your risks, including age, race/ethnicity, family history, diet, obesity, and smoking.
When Should I See a Urologist?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or if you’re above the age of fifty and haven’t had an annual physical, then you should call to set an appointment with your doctor.
Gulfshore Urology is the leading urology practice in Florida. You can contact our experienced and friendly team at 239-333-3200 or use our contact form.