A Lab Test As A Christmas Gift? You Bet!

When a lot of people think about getting lab testing, probably the first thing that comes to mind is health. Lab tests are for finding out if something is wrong, right? The answer to that question is a little more complex. Lab tests are for finding out information — and believe it or not, the results can be helpful AND fun.

Here at Any Lab Test Now® we’re thinking specifically about our GPS Origins Test. GPS stands for Geographic Population Structure. Basically, the test can tell you where your ancestors are from. This simple test analyzes over 800,000 autosomal markers from your DNA to pinpoint your origins. It can help identify “when” and “where” your DNA formed by matching the populations that came together to create a genetic line that eventually leads to you.

If this sounds like information worth knowing, then consider this: The GPS Origins Test is a great gift worth giving this holiday season. It can help you mark a few folks off your list.

The History Buff

There is a person in almost every family that is the “holder of the history” — the person that knows all the stories about Great-Great-Grandpa Eric. They may already have completed some work on the family tree. Imagine what having this type of information could mean to them. A simple cheek swab turns into a detailed report about where your family originated and how it migrated around the world to where you are today. This test is so advanced it may even indicate the town or village where groups of your ancestors from different cultures met. Your family historian will spend hours poring over the detailed results.

The Hard to Shop for Person

Isn’t there always someone on your Christmas gift list that seems impossible to buy for? It’s because they’ve already bought everything they could possibly want or need for themselves! The key here is to think about something they didn’t even realize they needed! That’s the beauty of the GPS Origins Test. One gift can help you answer questions about your family’s history, shed light on the origins of certain family traits, and help you better understand exactly who you are.

The Person You Always Forget — YOURSELF

Why not buy one for yourself? Learn more about your family story. Maybe you’ve always been told your people were Irish, but you have no proof. Now you can separate fact from fiction and bridge gaps in your family’s records. Getting your results will be like curling up with a good book… only the story is about YOU.

It might seem strange to start your holiday shopping at Any Lab Test Now, but we offer dozens of tests that offer useful information that will be helpful for a happier and healthier New Year. Browse through our list — or come into one of our convenient locations and let the experts help you pick something out.

On the Ground Floor of the Retail Healthcare Boom

 It booms, it busts, it morphs. The retail landscape may be ever-shifting, but there is no denying the meteoric rise in retail healthcare. Healthcare and retail markets continue to overlap, as the big box stores and major healthcare groups and insurance carriers look for ways to join forces to catch up with consumers’ desire to take control of their health.

In his book, The Retail Healthcare Revolution, Tony Paquin refers to empowered consumers/patients as the creators of the largest movement in retail history!

As a direct access lab testing company, with walk-in availability and no doctors’ orders needed, Any Lab Test Now is part of the foundation of this movement. We have been providing customers with tools to take control of their health for more than 25 years. Driven by an expectation for convenience, value, and a great customer experience, Any Lab Test Now meets and exceeds customers’ needs by delivering what they want, when they want it.

Ease and access. Whether looking to stock up on paper towels or figure out why you are feeling lethargic and thirsty, people want the ability to get information and solve problems quickly and easily. At Any Lab Test Now that means not hassling with scheduling appointments and taking a half-day off work to see a doctor. It means walking into a lab without an appointment, getting in and out in about 15 minutes, and having the results delivered directly to you in a matter of days. Healthcare consumers do not want long waits or walks. Our small footprint stores are located near major thoroughfares and near other highly desired retailers, so getting a lab test can be an errand worked easily into your day. Ample and free parking outside lab storefronts is just one more way we set ourselves apart from the traditional medical experience — and big-box stores with big-box parking lots!

Retail-type experience. Gone are the days of walking into a doctor’s office and encountering a worker behind a sliding glass window who may or may not bother to look up at you. Or maybe you want a test that your doctor won’t order and your insurance refuses to pay for. Patients don’t need to settle for that anymore either. The shift to retail healthcare puts the emphasis on the customer and the customer experience, which is where our emphasis has always been. Our owners and employees take pride in creating an inviting atmosphere that doesn’t feel like a sterile medical facility. Our value proposition is clearly seen in our transparent pricing. Just as retail stores mark prices on their products, when you come into an Any Lab Test Now location all of the lab tests are clearly listed on the pricing menu. This retail-centric practice sets us apart from most of the healthcare industry in a way our customers truly appreciate.

Community-based. As a nationwide company with small stores with local owners, we are decidedly not big-box, big-pharma, or big-corporation. We are part of the communities we serve. That means we build relationships, not only with our customers and our physicians, but with local non-profits and in our local business communities. Whether we are participating in a local 5k or supporting a community initiative, our customers see us at local events. Being an active participant in the communities we serve is part of our brand, and it’s a business model that has always served us well, personally and financially.

So, when I hear that retail, consumer-driven healthcare is poised to become a trillion-dollar industry, I am proud of how Any Lab Test Now has helped pave the way. It validates our long-term growth strategy as we continue to give power to the people!

Don’t Let Food Reactions Dampen Your Spirits This Holiday Season

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The holidays roll around and it’s time for the three F’s of the calendar year: fun, family and food. Lots of food. There’s the roasted turkey, the mashed potatoes, the green bean casserole… so many options to choose from! But wait! What’s this that Aunt Nancy brought? It looks good, but what the heck is in it? No bother, it’s the holidays, let’s give it a taste! And while we’re at it, we’ll try a bit of this, a bite of that and, before you know it, you feel miserable.

The holidays are definitely a time for overindulgence, but have you ever stopped to consider that maybe it’s not how much you eat, but WHAT you eat that makes you feel so miserable after a holiday meal? The holidays and other large family food gatherings are prime time for food issues to rear their ugly heads. They can leave you feeling “ugh” for the rest of the day, or even needing emergency care!

Any Lab Test Now® wants to keep you healthy and happy this holiday season, so we want to remind you that if you’ve ever left the holiday table feeling less than festive, now might be the best time to consider Allergy and Sensitivity Lab Testing.

Let’s start with the basics: Is it an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance? There are big differences, and the right lab test can give you the answers you need and let you know what to avoid. Adverse food reactions can be immune system related or digestive system related.

Food Allergies are the biggie. That’s because the body can react to a food allergy with a wide range of ills. It can be as simple as a stuffy nose or as dangerous as anaphylaxis! Food allergies involve an immune response in which IgE antibodies are formed. The most common test for these types of allergies is IgE tests, which can detect immunoglobulin “E” traces in your blood and can then pinpoint the offending food! Some of the most popular IgE allergy tests available at Any Lab Test Now include the Basic/Pediatric Panel, the Expanded Food Panel, and the Comprehensive Combination Panel.

Sometimes you can be allergic to a food, but your reaction is cumulative instead of immediate. The most common test for these types of allergies is IgG lab tests. These tests look for traces of immunoglobulin “G” in your blood. The most common IgG tests offered by Any Lab Test Now include the Expanded Food Panel III, the Comprehensive Combination Panel I/III, and the Super Combination Panel.

Food Sensitivities are also immune related. The difference is, they do not involve IgE antibodies. Instead, food sensitivity occurs when a trigger food hits your small intestine. That’s where the offending particle passes into your bloodstream and your white blood cells are less than welcoming! It can sometimes feel like the flu, with symptoms like a headache, body aches, and serious digestive complaints.

Food Intolerances can take you from the party directly to the bathroom. They usually occur when your body lacks a certain enzyme needed to break down a food properly. Intolerances don’t involve an immune response, but your body is going to let you know by way of your digestive system. Symptoms usually include gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

With both food sensitivities and intolerances, ALCAT testing is recommended. Some of Any Lab Test Now’s most common ALCAT tests include the Pediatric Wellness Panel, the 200 Foods Panel, and the Comprehensive Platinum Panel.

Any Lab Test Now is also proud to now offer the CICA test — the Celiac, IBS, and Crohn’s Array. The CICA test measures gut health on the genetic, antibody, and cellular levels and could help pinpoint the cause of chronic discomfort.

Keep the holidays happy and healthy by pinpointing allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances now so you’ll know what to avoid later. You can use our easy Testing Road Map to determine which tests would work best for you, or you can check with one of our experts at your nearest Any Lab Test Now location.

A Tiny Gland That Does A Big Job: Is Your Thyroid Working Properly?

A lot of people don’t even think about their thyroid… at least until something goes wrong with it. It’s involved in so many of your bodily functions it’s like a jack-of-all-trades. From your heart rate to your body temperature to your blood pressure, your thyroid gland has its fingers in all of your pies. That’s why it’s so important for you to make sure it’s functioning properly. Any Lab Test Now® has several options that can help you take control of your own thyroid health.

Small Gland: Big Job

Your thyroid makes two hormones — T3 and T4. These hormonal workers slip into your bloodstream, which takes them all over the body. They are sort of like the big boss of your worker cells: they regulate the speed in which your cells work. Too much of them and you may find yourself with a pounding heart and weight loss. Not enough, you may find that you feel exhausted all the time and are gaining weight.

Hyperthyroidism Explained

When your thyroid is making too much of these hormones, it’s called hyperthyroidism. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that about 1 out of every 100 people suffers from an over-active thyroid. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Thinning hair
  • Muscle weakness
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Heart racing
  • Increased sweating

Thyroid problems are often caused by autoimmune disorders, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the body’s own cells. Graves’ disease can cause the thyroid to become over-active.

Hypothyroidism Explained

Likewise, when your thyroid isn’t making enough hormones, it’s called hypothyroidism. The NIH says this is much more common, with nearly 1 in 20 Americans ages 12 and older suffering from hypothyroidism. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Dry skin
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Constipation

And just like hyperthyroidism, autoimmune disorders can cause hypothyroidism. The most common is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It’s important to note that the thyroid can also be affected by cancer. It generally has no symptoms, but is also considered fairly rare.

Let Any Lab Test Now Help

Your local Any Lab Test Now offers a wide range of thyroid lab tests. In all, there are nine different tests that can monitor your thyroid health. One of our experts can help you decide which one works best for you. Some of our most common are:

  • THYROID PANELThis panel includes the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test, the T4 Total, Free T3, Free T4, and the Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies Test.
  • FREE T3This test measures free, unbound levels of triiodothyronine in your bloodstream. Free T3 is considered more accurate than Total T3. Free T3 is typically elevated in hyperthyroidism.
  • FREE T4This test measures the free, unbound levels of thyroxine levels in your bloodstream. Free T4 is typically elevated in patients with hypothyroidism.

A Final Note

Thyroid problems are most likely to occur in women, or in people over the age of 60. There is also a hereditary component. Having a family member with a history of thyroid disorders also increases your risk. Both hypo- and hyperthyroidism can be treated. Getting a diagnosis is the first step. Any Lab Test Now can help you take a big problem and make it manageable.

Diversity in the Workplace: How It Benefits Our Company

It’s easy to look at the news headlines and become depressed and jaded about the violence, the political scandals and the conflict that seems to arise when diverse groups of people (race, nationality, gender, political party, etc.) come together. But I would like to offer up a different view of diversity, one that I have watched unfold over the last ten years at Any Lab Test Now.

When I was first hired as COO of the company in 2007, I was the only woman on the executive team. That didn’t really resonate with me at the time, since I had come up through the ranks in the technology industry and was used to being one of the few — or only — females in a sea of middle-aged white men and maybe a few Asian men.

Fast forward 10 years, we now have an all-female executive team (not by design), and 75 percent of our workforce qualifies as a minority in some way. In our home office, we are African-American, Asian, Latino, LGBTQ, we are women and men from 22 to 60 years old, and we live in different parts of the melting pot that is Atlanta. In short, we are a diverse group. And it is wonderful!

Our company has experienced more than 100 percent growth in the last five years, and while there are several factors, the inclusive work environment we have where different types of people contribute and feel valued plays a part.

Here are a few of the ways in which our diversity makes us “better together” and a stronger company for our franchisees and customers.

We Are…

…more productive employees. When you have workers of different generations sitting side by side, everyone benefits. I have watched a millennial raised on technology help teach an older counterpart how to navigate new technologies; I have watched older employees who have been working since they were 15 years old teach those millennials about accountability and how to navigate workplace issues. The expanded knowledge that comes from diversity makes everyone more productive.

…providing better customer service. We have a marketing team, but our secret weapon in providing great customer service comes from our diversity. Having bilingual employees obviously helps in communicating with our customers, but we also benefit when our different employees identify with different customer demographics and share those customers’ perspectives. Our marketing efforts and customer service become much more tailored and responsive to our customers’ attitudes and behaviors.

…more creative. This is probably the most fun for me, to watch and listen to all the great ideas that emerge when you turn up the heat on the melting pot. Case in point, the annual company conference can easily get stale with speaker after speaker, and a reliable chicken dinner. This year, our employees added a creative spark to tried-and-true convention practices by promoting a silent auction featuring handcrafted, interesting or unique items donated by members of the ALTN family. I donated embroidered tea towels that I made, and all proceeds will benefit a local children’s hospital in our host city. I appreciate our employees working to make this “educational party” a fun, interactive and engaging experience for our franchisees. I love seeing their creativity at work!

…enjoying a positive reputation in our communities. Our diverse workforce has a momentum of its own that enhances our reputation in our geographic community and the franchise community. We have become an example of not just a woman-led company but one that welcomes and encourages any person who fits our needs and our core values, like integrity and accountability. Many of our employees refer their family and friends to us, and we can hire good people on the recommendation of people we trust. When potential franchisees come in for Discovery Day, they see that we don’t all look the same. We welcome diversity in our franchise owners and can offer them a diverse support system in our home office.

That’s not to say being diverse hasn’t come with some bumps in the road. It has. There can be awkward moments, misunderstandings and a general lack of awareness about people/places/ideas that are new to us. But those bumps provide us an opportunity to educate one another about different cultures and perspectives. Ultimately, we become more sensitive, more respectful, and happier when we are at work. I can’t wait to see what our company looks like in 10 more years!

Don’t Let Your Wealth or Your Health Be Forgotten

Life just seems to pick up the pace when the cooler temperatures of fall arrive. School starts again and all the extracurricular happenings that go along with it! The holidays come around one after the other. It seems like no sooner are you taking down the Halloween decorations that you’re putting up the Christmas tree! It seems that as the days get shorter our to-do list gets longer. It’s easy for important things to slip between the cracks and the next thing you know, poof! You’ve forgotten all about them

Any Lab Test Now® would like to remind you about two of those important items that should move to the top of your priority list: your wealth and your health. And believe it or not, you can take care of them both at your local Any Lab Test Now.

Let’s Talk About Money

OK! So it’s bad manners to talk about money, but let’s get real! When it comes to many Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s), it’s “Use it or lose it!” When you’re trying to stretch every dollar, it’s hard to justify letting a couple hundred dollars (maybe more!) disappear, and that’s what happens when you don’t check your FSA account and use the money that’s in it before the end of the year. With a few exceptions, most FSA plans DO NOT allow you to roll over unused funds to the next year. So, what happens? One minute you’re carving a pumpkin, the next you’re trying to decide whether a sweater or a scarf would make a better Christmas gift for Grandma and all the while you’ve totally forgotten the cash balance on your FSA card.

Any Lab Test Now hasn’t forgotten, and it’s in the best interest of your health for you to remember as well! Here’s why.

Your Health is Your Priority

When it comes to your priorities list, your health should be pretty high on it! Any Lab Test Now can help you with our fast and convenient testing services. Our lab testing services are:

  • Convenient – just check here for a location that is near you.
  • Open – we have worker-friendly hours and are even open on Saturdays.
  • Easy – you don’t need an appointment. Just walk in!
  • Fast – most customers are in and out in 15 minutes or less.

And maybe most importantly, Any Lab Test Now accepts Flexible Spending Account cards.

Maybe you’ve put off your annual check-up lab work because you just haven’t had the time. Maybe you’re struggling with your weight and you’re not sure where to start. Whatever your health issues are, the experts at Any Lab Test Now can guide you in the right direction — the one that will provide you with the information you need to take control of your health!

Any Lab Test Now! — Making An Impact On Your Health

Who makes an impact on your health? It could be your doctor, a nurse, your parents or your spouse. Making an impact on health is at the heart of this year’s National Health Education Week (October 15–19). Started by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) back in 1995, National Health Education Week (NHEW) focuses on increasing national awareness on major health issues and promoting a better understanding of the role of health education. This year, they’re focusing on the importance of future health education specialists and their vital role in improving consumer health and wellness.

Any Lab Test Now® is proud to be on the frontlines of health education because we believe that YOU are one of the people making the largest impact on your health. Working with you, the experts at Any Lab Test Now can provide you with the critical information you need to take control of your health, whether it’s proactive, reactive, or monitoring. We help you find the information you need.

Any Lab Test Now is on the frontlines of a healthcare revolution! We are the first direct access lab testing services company, making it easier for consumers to manage their own health by offering a variety of testing options to choose from. We offer thousands of testing choices that range from clinical lab tests, to paternity and DNA, to toxicology, and more:

ANNUAL CHECK-UP PANEL – Our Annual Check-Up Panel is the perfect panel for evaluating your overall health. With this test, you’ll get information on everything from your cholesterol levels, to your thyroid function, to blood glucose numbers. It includes:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Lipid Panel
  • TSH
  • Hemoglobin A1c

ALLERGY TESTS –From environmental to food allergies that can show how mild to severe you are to those allergens. The experts at Any Lab Test Now can help you decide which of our many allergy tests would be right for you!

DRUG & ALCOHOL TESTING – We offer more than a dozen different options that screen for drug or alcohol usage. This testing has become more and more important to employers and parents alike.

TEST FINDER – With so many options, it can be overwhelming. Use our Test Finder to learn more about some of our most commonly ordered tests. Still not sure? Just contact the nearest Any Lab Test Now location and we’ll talk you through the process.

Each test page includes a description and important information that will not only educate you, but also help you make a decision.

How important is it for you to take control of your health? You only have to look at the faces of those that love and depend upon you to find that answer. Work with your health care providers to make sure you’re at your best — but also be aware of your role in educating yourself when it comes to your health. Working together with Any Lab Test Now you will find that awareness and information may make the biggest impact of all.

Are you aware? It could save your life

Helping you take control of your health is what Any Lab Test Now® is all about. A big part of taking control is educating yourself and being aware of your health risks. That’s why Any Lab Test Now is proud to support efforts to make you aware of the latest in women’s health issues and proud to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Throughout the month of October you’ll see the pink ribbons that support breast cancer awareness. Awareness can be life saving! That’s because breast cancer is a cancer that most women can survive if it’s found and treated early. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early.

Self-exams and mammograms can make a HUGE impact. Some fast facts about breast cancer from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women.
  • More than 40,000 women die from the disease each year.
  • Men can develop breast cancer, but it is rare. Less than 1 percent of breast cancers occur in men.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women.

For women who have had the disease before, the need to be extra vigilant is vital. Any Lab Test Now offers a Breast Cancer Monitoring Panel that may be helpful for women who are:

  • Currently diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Are breast cancer survivors
  • Have a history of breast cancer

The Breast Cancer Monitoring Panel tests for levels of the proteins CA 15-3 and CA 27-29. Those proteins are both normally produced by breast cells, but in women with breast cancer, the levels can increase. The panel also includes a CEA Test, which is another type of protein that will show increased levels in people with cancer. What the Breast Cancer Monitoring Panel does NOT do is tell you if you have breast cancer. It can be a helpful tool for women and their physicians as they move forward with treatment and therapy.

One of the biggest things you can do to ensure your continued good health is to have an overall picture of your health. That’s where the Comprehensive Female Panel can help. This panel is actually 11 tests in one. It will provide you and your doctor with a thorough overview of your health with information including your blood counts, kidney and liver functions, electrolytes, female hormones, thyroid, heart health, and nutritional status. It’s cost effective and provides you with information you need to monitor your health.

Any Lab Test Now is a convenient and affordable way to take control of your health. Being aware and educating yourself is another. Take the time this October to consider your own breast health — and remind a bosom buddy to do the same.

The skin you’re in – and the role your hormones play

When you think about your skin and how it looks, chances are you think externally. You probably think about things like:

  • Products that can cause acne
  • Sun damage from lack of sunscreen
  • Lines and wrinkles associated with aging

You should definitely consider all of these issues and take them seriously, but we also need to be aware of what is occurring INTERNALLY. Many people aren’t aware of the huge role your hormones play on your skin’s overall health.

Looking Good; Feeling Confident

Any Lab Test Now realizes that feeling confident about your appearance can play a huge role in your mental health. All you have to do is turn on a television set or open a magazine, and you’ll see how much an attractive and youthful appearance is valued. If you feel you aren’t looking optimal, it can begin to eat away at aspects of your self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to consider the role your hormones play in your appearance.

The Beauty of Balance

Having the proper balance of hormones is critical to the health and vitality of your skin. Your skin is the largest organ you have, and hormones affect a wide range of skin issues. We’re talking about things like collagen content, skin lipid levels, elasticity, moisture content — even wound healing, facial hair and acne.

As we age, our hormone levels change (Think teenage acne!). Low hormone levels can mean dry and thinning skin that is losing its elasticity and increasing the appearance of wrinkles. Low thyroid hormones can mean increased hair loss. On the flip side, high levels of hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can contribute to dark, blotchy patches on the skin. Too much testosterone can mean adult acne, male pattern baldness or even unwanted facial hair.

Better Skin Begins at Home

Knowing the role skin health can play in helping you look and feel your best, Any Lab Test Now offers an option that will help you and your dermatologist have a better understanding of your hormone health. The Skin Vitality Take Home Hormone Kit can provide you with the information you need to get to the bottom of any unusual changes in your skin, by providing you with information about your body’s levels of seven key hormones and one skin-tastic vitamin.

The Skin Vitality Take Home Hormone Kit

  1. Estradiol (E2)
  2. Estriol (E3)
  3. Progesterone (Pg)
  4. Testosterone (T)
  5. DHEA-S (DS)
  6. Diurnal Cortisol (Cx4)
  7. Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH)
  8. Vitamin D (D2, D3)

Knowing the levels of these specific hormones can help you and your doctor understand and better treat conditions like dry, blotchy skin or oily, acne-prone skin. There are many topical hormone therapies that can help relieve skin conditions. And remember, understanding your hormone levels can help to uncover hidden deficiencies or issues that impact not only the health of your skin but your overall health as well.

Take Control of Your Health

The Skin Vitality Take Home Hormone Kit doesn’t require any fasting. It starts with a simple dried blood spot test that will accurately measure your thyroid hormones and vitamin D levels. There are also four saliva tests that will need to be performed throughout the day; these tests will reflect the highs and lows of steroid and adrenal hormone production. The Skin Vitality Take Home Hormone Kit will help you identify hormonal imbalances that are contributing to skin problems and will help you and your doctor take control of your health and determine the best treatment. To find the nearest Any Lab Test Now location to you, click here. It’s the first step to looking and feeling your best in “the skin you’re in”!

The Power in Prostate Cancer Prevention

With a different health “awareness” month coming at you every month, it can become tempting to tune out. Or, you can tune in, and give yourself the opportunity in those 30 or so days to think, learn and reflect on your body, your health and your life.

This month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month takes center stage, and Any Lab Test Now wants to share some important and encouraging information.

The Facts:

  • One in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • One in 41 men will die of prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men.

Who is “Most “At Risk?

  • African-American men
  • Older men (the average age of diagnosis is 66)
  • Men with a family history

The Good News: (for those who are diagnosed and treated)

  • The 5-year relative survival rate is 99 percent.
  • The 10-year relative survival rate is 98 percent.
  • The 15-year relative survival rate is 96 percent.

It may be tempting to look at some of those stats and risk factors and think prostate cancer won’t affect or harm you. But with a cancer that is often asymptomatic, a simple lab test called the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA test , is the only way to catch the cancer in its early stages. The five-year survival rate in distant stage prostate cancer is a mere 29 percent.

As actor/comedian Ben Stiller, a Caucasian with no family history, found out at age 46, early prevention is key to those favorable survival rates.

“Taking the PSA test saved my life. Literally,” said Stiller in a first-person account of his journey into the world of being a cancer patient and cancer survivor.

To Test or Not to Test

The decision about if or when to do the PSA screening test has come under intense scrutiny, with varying opinions. For instance, the American Cancer Society recommends discussing the test at these stages:

  • Men at age 50, who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Men at age 45, who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer. (African-Americans and men who have a first-degree relative, father, brother or son, diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 65 or younger).
  • Men at age 40, who are at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Sr., took PSA tests for years before he was diagnosed at 55 years old. As an African-American with a strong family history (four uncles died of the disease), Griffey knew he was high-risk and knew early detection would be key to his survival. He was right. He is now a vocal advocate of PSA testing.

However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently updated its guidelines and recommends:

  • Men aged 55–69 discuss possible screening with their doctor.
  • Men aged 70 and older are advised against routine screening.

Potential reasons for not screening include false positives and over-treatment of what is commonly a slow-growing cancer, which could result in unwanted side effects like incontinence or impotence. However, a more common form of treatment is now being referred to as “watchful waiting.” This active surveillance combines regular PSA testing and digital rectal exams with close monitoring of men with a localized, low-grade prostate cancer, that may never progress to the point of needing more invasive treatments.

At Any Lab Test Now, we encourage men to take control of their health. Our simple PSA can provide results in a matter of days. This test provides valuable information that every man can take to their doctor for a thoughtful discussion about living their longest, healthiest life.