You’ve reached that age where your doctor suggests the time has come to work regular prostate screenings into your annual routine. While this isn’t particularly fun news, heeding the advice could very well save your life.
That said, chances are you want to know just what to expect from that dreaded annual exam. While it’s not necessarily something to look forward to, the good news it doesn’t take very long to screen. In fact, the very basic screening can take place right in the doctor’s office so there’s no need to go anywhere else in most cases.
The basic screening for prostate cancer that takes place on an annual basis for men starting roughly around the age of 40 includes:
- A digital rectal exam – This exam involves the doctor physically checking on the condition of the prostate. He or she will feel to determine if the organ has any hard or lumpy areas that can be indicative of tumor formation. If so, more advanced testing may be called for.
- A simple blood test – When routine prostate exams start, so does the need for a Prostate Specific Antigen test. This simple blood draw can help a doctor see if an abnormally high level of this antigen is present in the blood. If so, more thorough testing might be warranted. Keep in mind, however, that only about 30 percent of men who have high levels of PSA in their blood have prostate cancer. This test is far from perfect, but it’s a good screening tool for early detection.
If either of the basic screening tests reveal cause for concern, a doctor may recommend further testing. In most cases, this involves a biopsy that enables testing of prostate tissue for the presence of cancer.
Prostate cancer is highly treatable when detected early. Routine exams make that early detection possible.