Would it surprise you to know that one in six men is at a lifetime risk of prostate cancer?
Prostate Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American males today and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Each year over 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. That’s an astounding two men every five minutes!
Most experts recommend that at age 40, all men should undergo yearly screening. Screening is especially important for those who have a family history of prostate cancer.
Screening tests such as a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test are generally the first tests which are conducted as part of a yearly, routine male physical. These tests help your physician to see if there are any irregularities or abnormalities of the prostate. The DRE allows the physician to feel the wall of the prostate via the rectum to see if there are any unusual lumps or nodules while the PSA test is an analyzed blood draw which is intended to detect the level of a particular substance (PSA) produced in the prostate. The substance helps liquify semen. If the PSA levels are higher than normal, it may be an indication of prostate cancer.
If the DRE and PSA do indicate that you are at risk for having cancer, your doctor will suggest a biopsy to be preformed to either rule out or verify a cancer diagnosis. A biopsy is a procedure which involves taking a sampling of the prostate tissue to see if it contains cancerous cells. If the tumor (growth) is benign that means it is non-cancerous. If the tumor is malignant that means it is cancerous and treatment is usually needed.
If detected early, prostate cancer is often treatable. As with other types of cacner, early detection is often the key to combating the illness. Various treatment options are available which may include hormone therapy to prevent the growth of the cancerous cells, surgery to remove the tumors, laser technology or robotic surgery for partial prostate removal or complete prostate removal.
It is important to know that a malignant cancerous tumor often grows slowly and produces little or no symptoms; therefore annual checkups which include both the DRE and PSA tests are essential in ensuring a healthy, active lifestyle.