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Referral to a specialist

Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist (urologist) within 2 weeks if you have symptoms that could be due to prostate cancer, including a raised PSA level.

A urologist is a doctor who specialises in treating disorders of the urinary tract, including the bladder, kidney and prostate.

Seeing your GP

It can be hard for GPs to decide who may have cancer and who might have a more minor condition. For some symptoms, your doctor may ask you to wait to see if the symptoms get better or respond to treatment, such as antibiotics. There are guidelines for GPs to help them decide who needs an urgent referral.

Your GP can do 2 tests to help them decide whether you need a referral:

  • a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test
  • an examination of your prostate gland to check for abnormal signs, such as lumpy or hard areas (digital rectal examination)
Your doctor will consider doing these tests if you:
  • have erection problems
  • have any problems passing urine, such as rushing to the toilet to pass urine or passing urine more often (especially at night)
  • have visible blood in your urine
  • wish to have a PSA test
  • are at higher risk of prostate cancer

Urgent referral

You should get an appointment with a urologist within 2 weeks if:
  • your prostate feels abnormal to your doctor after an examination
  • your PSA level is higher than would be expected for someone of your age

If you might be at higher risk

Speak to your GP if you think you are at higher risk of prostate cancer. You can request a PSA test.

This particularly applies to men who have family members with prostate cancer or who are of a black Caribbean or black African background.

UK referral guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) produce guidelines for GPs in the UK. The guidelines help them decide who needs an urgent referral.

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.