Prostate cancer is a serious health concern for men, as it affects one in 41 American males that result in death. It is the second most common form of cancer in men after skin cancer and can have deadly consequences if not diagnosed early.
Fortunately, there are tests available that can detect prostate cancer before it progresses too far. Knowing when to get tested and who should take these tests can help save lives by catching this disease at an early stage. In this article, we will discuss when and who should take a prostate examination for men.
What is a prostate examination?
A prostate examination is a medical test used to detect diseases and disorders of the prostate gland. It is typically done via a digital rectal exam (DRE) where the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities in the prostate. Other tests such as prostate-specific antigen tests may also be done to further evaluate the health of the prostate.
During this process, the physician is looking for signs of cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, in the blood. An elevated PSA level can indicate an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Why is a digital rectal exam (DRE) important?
The digital rectal exam (DRE) is an important part of the prostate examination that can help detect any abnormalities in the prostate. The purpose of this examination is to detect cancer or other prostate diseases. During the procedure, the doctor will insert a lubricated and gloved finger into the rectum to detect any abnormalities. The doctor may also perform a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to measure the level of PSA in the blood.
Why is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) important?
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the prostate that helps to detect any irregularities or changes in the prostate gland. An elevated PSA level can signify an increased risk for prostate cancer. Therefore, it is important to have your PSA levels checked regularly if you are at risk for prostate cancer.
What happens when both tests are done?
When both the digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests are done, your doctor may recommend further testing or a biopsy. If the tests reveal worrying findings, additional testing may be done to determine if cancer is present. Also, ask your doctor about any follow-up care that may be needed.
Moreover, if the initial tests come back negative, your doctor may suggest more frequent tests in the future to make sure you stay healthy. With growing age, the risk of prostate cancer increases and more frequent screenings are advised.
When and who needs a prostate examination test?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men aged 50 and older get tested for prostate cancer annually. Men of African descent should begin testing at age 45, as they have a higher risk than other populations. Men with a family history of prostate cancer should also start testing earlier and more frequently.
Men who are experiencing symptoms such as pain or difficulty urinating should also see their doctor for a prostate examination.
Most doctors recommend that men over the age of 50 get a yearly prostate exam and PSA test as part of their routine health checkups. Depending on individual risk factors, some men may need to start testing earlier and more frequently.
Who is at a higher risk of prostate cancer?
Men who have a family history of prostate cancer, or are over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. Men with high levels of testosterone may also be more susceptible to the disease. Additionally, men with certain lifestyle factors, such as a diet high in red meat and dairy products and low in fruits and vegetables, may be at an increased risk.
Prostate cancer is a serious health concern for men and can have deadly consequences if not diagnosed early. Knowing when and who should take the necessary tests to detect prostate cancer can help save lives by catching this disease at an early stage.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men aged 50 and older get tested for prostate cancer annually, while men of African descent and those with a family history should start testing earlier. Men who are experiencing symptoms such as pain or difficulty urinating should also see their doctor for a prostate examination.
It is important to talk to your doctor about when and how often you should get tested for prostate cancer in order to ensure your best health. Early detection and treatment may save lives, so make sure to get your prostate examined at the recommended intervals.