What Happens As Soon As Doctors Fail To Follow Up On Abnormal Digital Exam And PSA Testing

 By: J. Hernandez
Consider that your doctor physically examines your prostate gland for any signs of possible cancer including an enlargement or a hardening of the prostate and if there are any growths present on the gland. Imagine the doctor orders blood tests, including a PSA test which is used for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer. So far, so good. This is how to determine if a male without any symptoms of prostate cancer may in fact have it. Imagine the tests came back outside the normal range

But, there is still debate among some doctors over the way to screen asymptomatic male patients for prostate cancer or whether to screen at all. These doctors take the position that screening has little, if any, value. One factor, nevertheless, continues to be constant. If the result of a screening test is abnormal the individual needs to be told of the results and either be referred to a specialist or be advised about the option for diagnostic testing, for example a biopsy. Again, however, some physicians also believe that, at least under certain circumstances, a man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer does not have to undergo treatment right away and just should carefully monitor the cancer.

If the physician fails to give the patient the option to undergo screening or fails to tell the patient about the abnormal test results the patient's prostate cancer may spread and metastasize without the man even knowing he may have cancer. Unfortunately, if a doctor detected that the patient's prostate was enlarged or there was a nodule on the gland and the PSA test results showed abnormally high levels of the antigen and the doctor failed to notify the man of the abnormal results, the man would probably think that meant there was no need to follow up.

If the patient does really have cancer, not informing the patient that he might have cancer will result a delay in his diagnosis. A delay might, in turn, give the cancer time to metastasize. Once a cancer metastasizes treatment can at best delay the progression of the cancer and reduce the effects (for example pain) of the cancer. There is a category of cases in which the man was eventually diagnosed but by that point the cancer was advanced and a cure was no longer plausible.

Screening tests may have false positives. This means that some patients with abnormal screening results will not have cancer. But doing screening tests for cancer is meaningless without follow up as it gives the patient a false sense of security thinking that he has no cancer as the doctor screened him and did not inform him that the tests showed the possibility of cancer. Doctors generally agree that there is a need for follow up if the results of screening tests come back as abnormal.
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