By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
March 12, 2021
Tags: Prostate Exam
The prostate is part of a male’s reproductive system and’s responsible for the production of semen. Unfortunately, prostate cancer is something that all men are at risk of developing. In fact, cancer.org reports about 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. As men get older, the risk for prostate cancer increases. This is why you should talk to your general medicine doctors about when you should begin getting a routine prostate exam.
What does a prostate exam involve?
To be fully screened against prostate cancer, your doctor will recommend both a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a simple blood test. The blood test will look for higher levels of PSA within the bloodstream, which can be a sign of inflammation or damage to the prostate. A higher count of PSA does not necessarily mean that you have cancer, but it will require follow-up testing to find out why your PSA count is higher than normal.
A digital rectal exam will make it possible for your doctor to feel the prostate to look for any lumps and growths that may require further screening. This exam only takes a few seconds and while a bit awkward and uncomfortable (particularly if you have an enlarged prostate), it should not be painful.
When should men start getting screened?
Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is considered the most common form of cancer in US men. This is why it’s incredibly important that men get screened for prostate cancer starting at age 50. Since African American men have a 70 percent higher risk for developing prostate cancer than white men, they should talk to their general medicine practitioner about starting routine screenings by the age of 40.
Early detection means that we can catch cancer fast when it’s still highly treatable. Prostate exams save lives, and screening is the only way to catch prostate cancer during the early stages when you’re also not likely to even know you have it.
Don’t wait until you experience warning signs of prostate cancer to take your health seriously. Your general medicine doctor can provide you with the appropriate prostate exam you need to protect you from cancer.