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Early stage prostate cancer (confined to the prostate gland) may not produce any symptoms and early detection remains a challenge. Currently the diagnosis of prostate cancer relies on a combination of patient factors (age, family history), prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal examination.
Routine screening of men without symptoms using PSA testing remains controversial and is the subject of ongoing trials; men with a strong family history of prostate cancer and men over the age of 50 are encouraged to discuss the advantages and limitations of PSA screening with their family doctor.
For those men with suspected prostate cancer, biopsy of the prostate is usually performed to confirm the presence of the cancer and obtain additional information about the cancer such as the Grade of the cancer (a measure of aggressiveness based on microscopic appearance).