What You Need To Know About Identifying Prostate Cancer
While about 1 in every 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, catching it in its early stages with a prostate cancer screening can improve the effectiveness of treatment and improve the chance of recovery. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, out of the patients who discovered their prostate cancer in the early stages thanks to screenings, almost 99% of them were cancer-free after 5 years. So even though prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States, it is a form of cancer that is often curable with early detection.
At Southeast Radiation Oncology Center, helping people battle against cancer is what we do, whether that means providing professional radiation cancer therapy or simply providing information about cancer conditions, risk factors, treatments, and more, so patients can be prepared to face what’s ahead, stay strong, and come out on top. To support those who may be at risk of prostate cancer, we have put together this guide on prostate cancer screenings with everything you need to know about the process.
When Should I Get A Prostate Cancer Screening?
Identifying prostate cancer can be tricky, since there are not many symptoms that patients experience in the early stages, and by the time symptoms start to arise, the cancer has already advanced to a later stage. However, we know that the risk of developing prostate cancer rises significantly at age 50 and onward, and every 6 out of 10 prostate cancer diagnoses occur in men that are over 65.
Since the goal is to be proactive, most physicians recommend that men start getting regular screenings by the time they turn 40. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you may have a higher risk of developing cancer yourself, so you should talk to a doctor to see if getting regular screenings earlier would be recommended for you.
Types Of Screenings For Prostate Cancer
The two types of prostate cancer screening methods are the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. Both of these screenings are meant to identify abnormalities with a prostate, with the results of these tests not being an indication if you have prostate cancer or not. What the results of the tests will show is if there are potential signs of early developing cancer or if you’re simply at risk of developing it.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
The Digital Rectal Exam involves checking for an enlarged prostate as well as other abnormalities like lumps in the prostate. To check for these signs, a doctor or nurse will wear a lubricated glove and stick a finger into the rectum in order to apply pressure to the prostate gland. The DRE is usually a very quick procedure, with patients only feeling a minor amount of discomfort and possibly the feeling of needing to urinate.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
The tissues in the prostate create a special protein called PSA that ends up in the semen that the body produces, as well as circulates through the blood. The standard healthy PSA level is lower than 4 nanograms per every milliliter of blood, but when prostate cancer is present, that number typically jumps up to a PSA level of over 10 ng/ml. However, other factors such as patients taking certain medications, undergoing other medical procedures, or having an enlarged prostate can all inflate the level of PSA in the blood, meaning that having a higher PSA level does not always mean that cancer is present. Regardless, this test is still very reliable when it comes to identifying abnormalities with the prostate.
What To Expect After A Prostate Cancer Screening
Whether you received the PSA or DRE exam for your screening, the results will come back either positive or negative for abnormalities in the prostate. Remember that these tests do not provide enough information to diagnose cancer right away. If your medical professional notices any prostate abnormalities that could be of concern, he will recommend other tests such an MRI, ultrasound, or biopsy to determine if cancer is present in the prostate.
Contact Us For More Information!
If you have any questions about the prostate cancer screening process, about the condition itself, or the treatments available for it, don’t hesitate to contact us at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center in Juneau, AK to get more information from a member of our experienced and knowledgeable cancer care team. For years, we have been providing professional, personalized cancer care to our patients to ensure that they are not only comfortable throughout their battle with cancer, but also have the support they need. Je are here to help, and we look forward to hearing from you and seeing how we can provide you the care and support that you need.