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5th February 2024

What is a prostate cancer screening?


As of August 2023, data from Prostate Cancer UK shows that an average of 144 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day. This totals more than 52,000 men in the UK every year. However, the number of people living with the condition unknowingly is likely much higher as there is a stigma around getting tested. Screening for prostate cancer is essential for both men and women, in order to diagnose the condition early and plan treatment accordingly.

See below for all the information on prostate cancer screening, including what’s involved and the potential risks and benefits.


Why get screened for prostate cancer?

The bottom line is that prostate cancer is responsible for a large number of UK deaths each year (over 12,000 to be exact). The prostate is a small gland located between the genitals and the bladder. Symptoms of prostate cancer can include difficulty urinating or unusually frequent urination. Although this is not a guaranteed way to diagnose the condition. Instead, you should seek to have a consultation with a medical professional who will then recommend a screening test potentially followed by treatment. Finding cancers early allows them to be treated more effectively, leading to lower risk of death.

The success of screening relies on people being willing to come forward, along with the understanding that it will do more good than harm. At the time of writing, in the UK there is no programme for prostate cancer screening through the NHS. Fortunately, many professional clinics such as VIDA offer private prostate cancer screening services.


How prostate screening works?

A prostate cancer screening test is designed to test someone for signs of early onset cancer, or to identify changes that could develop into cancer if left untreated. This can be done in a number of ways, which are typically used in conjunction to create a comprehensive screening test. Following screening, a doctor may recommend a biopsy to confirm the presence of prostate cancer. This involves taking a small tissue sample for examination in a lab.


Prostate examination

This is the most common test associated with prostate cancer screening, which leads some to delay or ignore testing. A digital rectal examination (DRE) is a quick procedure that can reveal the need for further tests. It involves the healthcare provider using a gloved and lubricated finger to feel for prostate abnormalities inside the man’s rectum.


PSA testing

You will be asked for a blood sample to test your level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a substance made by the prostate gland. Fluctuations in the body’s level of PSA can be an indicator of cancer. Only an experienced healthcare professional can interpret the results of a PSA test, as levels can also be influenced by factors including:

  • Age.
  • Race.
  • Size of the prostate.
  • Medications
  • Past medical procedures.
  • Infection.


Urine sample

Urine tests of prostate cancer measure the activity of the PCA3 gene. While this is active in regular prostate cells, levels of activity are elevated by cancer cells. Taking a urine sample can also rule out the possibility of a urinary tract infection (UTI), in the case of an increased PSA result.


Potential side effects of prostate cancer treatment

Many people choose to delay testing and treatment for prostate cancer due to the perceived risks. We believe these procedures are important despite the minor side effects and risks that come with the procedures. Nevertheless, to give you the full picture we’ve broken down what you should be aware of when you come in for prostate cancer screening.

The primary risk associated with screening for prostate cancer is that it can produce false positives. This is because, while men with high levels of PSA are more likely to have prostate cancer, it can also indicate other conditions. It may also be the case that the individual simply has abnormal PSA test results with no cancer. This can lead to unnecessary tests, treatments, and stress.

In addition, the process of cancer screening is somewhat invasive. This means it can cause complications, including:

  • Pain.
  • Infection to the affected area.
  • Bloody urine.

Private prostate cancer screening in Merseyside

VIDA clinics are proud to be partnered with Prostate Cancer UK to help raise awareness around the importance of screening, as well as dispelling the misconceptions surrounding treatment. We are committed to providing the best level of patient care possible. To this end, if you have any more questions regarding prostate cancer screening, don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our friendly team. When it comes to cancer, you often can’t afford to wait months for a consultation with an NHS GP. Contact us today to put your mind at ease.

Our Locations
VIDA Woodside

1 Pacific Road



CH41 1LJ

Woodsidevida 57
VIDA South Road

18 South Road



L22 5PQ

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VIDA Birchwood
Venturi Cardiology

720 Birchwood Boulevard



VIDA Chester
Total Fitness

53 Liverpool Rd



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