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How Do You Get Your Prostate Checked

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What Do The Results Mean

How to Test for Prostate Cancer | Ask a Prostate Expert, Mark Scholz, MD

PSA levels may be above the baseline for various reasons other than prostate cancer.

Other that can raise PSA levels include:

Also, people with obesity may have lower PSA readings.

In addition, some medications may reduce PSA levels, including:

Some herbal medicines and supplements can also lower PSA levels. A person should tell their doctor about any medications and supplements they take before undergoing the test.

High PSA levels alone do not indicate cancer. However, if a DRE also reveals changes, a doctor may recommend a biopsy for a more accurate result.

Some newer tests the results of the PSA test. They can help assess the risk for people with borderline scores to decide if they need further intervention.

The Prostate Health Index combines the results of:

What Is Prostate Cancer

The Prostate

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer causes abnormal cells to develop in the prostate gland which creates a tumour and can sometimes spread to other parts of the body.

Sometimes the cancer will grow too slowly to cause any problems or affect how long you live. You may never need any treatment.

However, some types of prostate cancer are very aggressive and are more likely to grow and spread quickly. This seems to be even more likely in black men. This will require treatment to stop it spreading.

Symptoms

Most men with early prostate cancer donât have symptoms. You can check your risk using the Prostate Cancer UK Risk Checker.

If you notice changes in how you urinate, it might not be prostate cancer, but itâs best to get it checked out. Early symptoms could be:

  • difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder

  • a weak flow when you urinate

  • a feeling that your bladder hasnt emptied properly

  • dribbling urine after you finish urinating

  • needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night

  • a sudden need to urinate you may sometimes leak urine before you get to the toilet.

More advanced symptoms or signs that the cancer has spread could be:

  • back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain

  • problems getting or keeping an erection

  • unexplained weight loss.

When Is A Psa Test Needed

If you are age 50 to 74, you should discuss the PSA test with your doctor. Ask about the possible risks and benefits.

Men under 50 or over 75 rarely need a PSA test, unless they have a high risk for prostate cancer.

  • You are more likely to get prostate cancer if you have a family history of prostate cancer, especially in a close relative such as a parent or sibling.
  • Your risks are higher if your relative got prostate cancer before age 60 or died from it before age 75. These early cancers are more likely to grow faster.
  • If you have these risks, you may want to ask your doctor about getting the PSA test before age 50.

This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.

04/2014

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Why Do The Prostate Gland Increase In Size

The prostate gland has two main growth phases. The first is induced by sex hormones secreted by the testicles during puberty. This causes the gland to gain an average weight of 20 grams in adulthood.

The second growth phase starts when men are in their 30s. Its unclear why this happens. The prostate continues to grow with age until it weighs 40 grams when males reach their 70s.

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Whats The Best Treatment For Prostate Symptoms

Movember shavedown: Why you should not get your prostate checked

Treatments for prostate cancer include surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, and ablation therapies, as well as active surveillance. Some treatments are better for some men and some prostates than others. There are side effects for each, so it really requires an informed discussion to help each man make an educated decision.

One thing we do at Yale is use an MRI of the prostate to evaluate the location of the prostate cancer for surgical planning. Ive found it to be quite helpful. Its not done everywhere.

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Can I Check My Own Prostate

It is not recommended that you try to check your own prostate.

The prostate is an internal gland, and performing a self-examination could cause harm. For your safety, the exam should be performed by a licensed healthcare professional.

Additionally, a professional will be better able to assess if there is a reason for concern.

What Do You Want Men To Know About Prostate Cancer

The important thing to know is that, if you live long enough, you will probably get prostate cancer. If you live into your 80s, about 80 percent of men have some sort of prostate cancer. That doesnt mean theyre going to die from prostate cancer because, as a percentage, very few men die from prostate cancer. It means its important to be aware of it and consider screening early, so if its a high-grade type, we can identify it and treat it.

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How Often Is A Prostate Exam Necessary

Your frequency of testing may be due to several factors, including your age, family history, and present health condition:

4049 Years of Age: Most urologists recommend men aged 40 and above to undergo a prostate exam if they have a family history or personal history of prostate cancer. Also, African-American men should talk to their doctor about how often to have these tests performed because they are at a heightened risk. The PSA test is the gold standard for prostate screening, and your doctor may also perform a digital rectal exam .

Your test results will further determine how often you may need a prostate exam. Generally, if your PSA result is under 2.5, you will likely only need the test every two years. On the other hand, if the result is higher, your doctor will probably recommend an annual prostate exam.

If the number is beginning to increase, your physician will probably ask you to return within a matter of months to have a follow-up test because an increasing PSA could indicate the presence of cancer cells. You may also need a biopsy.

50 Years and Above: Men with an average prostate cancer risk start getting a PSA exam at age 50. At this age, your provider may recommend an annual PSA and DRE. Your doctor will guide you regarding future PSA tests because the frequency may change as you age.

What Happens During Your Gp Appointment

When to Get Tested for Prostate Cancer

Your doctor needs to build up a picture of what’s going on. So they will ask you some questions. They will ask you about your general health and any other medical conditions you have. They may ask you about any urinary symptoms you may have.

During the appointment your doctor may want to examine you. You can ask for someone else to be in the room if you want, to act as a chaperone. This chaperone can be a friend or relative, or a trained health professional such as a practice nurse. They can be with you during the examination or throughout the appointment.

If you would rather see a male or a female doctor it is worth asking when you book the appointment.

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Both Tests Are Better Than One

Using these tests together is better than using either test alone. PSA testing together with a DRE may help find a dangerous cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Follow-up tests

If a problem is found, more tests will be done to find out whether you have prostate cancer or another health problem. Further tests can include:

  • a follow-up PSA test
  • a transrectal ultrasound a test that uses sound waves to make a picture of the rectum and nearby organs, including the prostate
  • a biopsy of the prostate tissue samples of the prostate are looked at under a microscope

Types Of Prostate Exams

There are two universal prostate screening methods, the PSA and DRE. The PSA, or Prostate-Specific-Antigen test, measures the amount of PSA in a mans blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate cells and constantly circulates through the blood.

The PSA has been controversial for misdiagnoses in the past, and the benefits of early detection must be weighed against false results. The test is highly sensitive and often detects a cancerous presence too small to be considered life-threatening. There is no standard PSA level. Some men with low levels have prostate cancer, while other men with high levels of PSA do not have cancer, hence the confusion over PSA test results. So, an upward trend in PSA readings over multiple tests suggests concern over the actual PSA level itself.

A digital rectal exam is where your urologist inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to palpate your prostate and check for any lumps and other irregularities. This quick and painless test can tell a lot about a mans prostate health.

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What Is Screening For Prostate Cancer

Some men get a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor, learn what is involved, and decide if a PSA test is right for you.

Cancer screening means looking for cancer before it causes symptoms. The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find cancers that may be at high risk for spreading if not treated, and to find them early before they spread.

If you are thinking about being screened, learn about the possible benefits and harms of screening, diagnosis, and treatment, and talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors.

There is no standard test to screen for prostate cancer. Two tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer are described below.

Mens Cancer Prevention & Care At Southwest General

Buy SELFcheck Prostate Test

Men should see their doctor regularly for recommended health screenings and testing. Our Southwest General Medical Group offers primary care and specialty care to help men protect and monitor their health. To learn more about our cancer care services or to schedule an appointment, visit our website.

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Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

When this happens, you may notice things like:

  • an increased need to pee
  • straining while you pee
  • a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied

These symptoms should not be ignored, but they do not mean you have prostate cancer.

It’s more likely they’re caused by something else, such as prostate enlargement.

Screening Tests For Prostate Cancer

Screening is testing to find cancer in people before they have symptoms. Its not clear, however, if the benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the risks for most men. Still, after discussing the pros and cons of screening with their doctors, some men might reasonably choose to be screened.

The screening tests discussed here are used to look for possible signs of prostate cancer. But these tests cant tell for sure if you have cancer. If the result of one of these tests is abnormal, you will probably need a prostate biopsy to know for sure if you have cancer.

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When Should Men Get A Prostate Exam

According to the American Cancer Society, men and people who were assigned male at birth should have their first prostate exam by age 50. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should consider having your first prostate exam at age 45.

Additionally, Black men are at a higher risk for being diagnosed with prostate cancer. For this reason, healthcare providers often recommend that Black men have their first prostate exam around age 45.

What Are The Prostate Cancer Symptoms I Need To Look Out For

Should I Get Tested for Prostate Cancer?

In its early stages, prostate cancer may not show any symptoms. Symptoms of early prostate cancer can include:

  • difficulty passing urine
  • a slow, interrupted flow of urine
  • frequent passing of urine, including at night

Symptoms associated with advanced prostate cancer include:

  • pain during urination
  • lower back or pelvic pain.

These symptoms are also found in men who may have benign prostatic hyperplasia , a common, non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.

If you experience these symptoms, visit your doctor.

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First What Is Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate â a small walnut-shaped gland in men. This is the gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Thankfully some prostate cancers are slow growing, without causing serious harm. However, others are aggressive, so for both scenarios, identifying the cancer earlier is key.

When Should I Get Tested

Visit Am I at Risk? to learn more. All men are at risk of prostate cancer, so it is important to talk with your doctor to make an informed decision. Check out our recommended age and testing guidelines, which are based on the NCCN provided recommendations.

Detecting prostate cancer early gives you the best chance of living longer. In fact, more than 99 percent of men survive prostate cancer when it is caught early.

Watch prostate cancer experts, Dr. Lowentritt and Dr. Siegel in this video discuss detection and diagnosis:

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Why Do I Need A Psa Test

Its your choice whether to have a PSA test to screen for cancer. You and your prover may consider your risk for developing a serious cancer that could spread if you dont catch it early. Your risk for serious prostate cancer may be higher depending on your:

  • Age. The risk of prostate cancer increases after age 50.
  • Your family health history. If members of your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be higher.
  • Your race. Prostate cancer is more common in African Americans. They also have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer at a younger age and having more serious disease.

You may also have a PSA test if:

  • You have symptoms of a prostate condition, such as:
  • Painful or frequent urination
  • Pelvic and/or back pain
  • You have prostate cancer. Your provider may use PSA testing to monitor your condition or to see how well treatment is working.
  • What Happens If Psa Is High

    Diagnosing

    A PSA level thats elevated may indicate prostate cancer, but it may also indicate other conditions, such as benign prostate hyperplasia or prostate infections. PSA levels can increase due to several factors, including age, infection, size of the prostate gland, and more.

    If your PSA is high, your doctor may recommend another PSA test to confirm the number, and follow up with regular PSA tests and DRE exams to observe over time. If PSA continues to increase, your doctor might recommend additional testing and imaging.

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    Causes Of Prostate Cancer

    The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown. But certain things can increase your risk of developing the condition.

    The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older.

    For reasons not yet understood, prostate cancer is more common in black men and less common in Asian men.

    Men whose father or brother were affected by prostate cancer are at slightly increased risk themselves.

    Recent research also suggests that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer.

    Using Medication To Reduce Symptoms

  • 1Recognize the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Look for a weak stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, or an increased need to urinate at night. You may also have difficulty starting urination or need to strain to empty your bladder. If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor for an official diagnosis.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the worldâs leading hospitalsGo to source
  • 2Try alpha-blockers if you have trouble urinating. Talk to your doctor about alpha-blockers, which can relax muscles around the bladder and prostate. These drugs help increase the flow of urine when you use the bathroom and keep you from needing to urinate too frequently.XResearch source
  • While adverse side effects are infrequent, alpha-blockers can cause dizziness. The good news is, they typically help relieve symptoms within a few weeks.
  • Take alpha-blockers, like tamsulosin, as directed by your doctor.
  • Most alpha-blockers are safe to take with other medications. Consult your pharmacist for any potential drug interactions with your current medication regimen.
  • 3Explore enzyme-inhibitors if you have a very enlarged prostate. Ask your doctor if enzyme-inhibitors, like finasteride and dutasteride, would be a good fit for your symptoms. These drugs shrink prostate tissue to reduce urinary problems and are often most effective on severely enlarged prostates.XResearch source
  • Like alpha-blockers, dizziness is the most common side effect.
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    How Often Do I Need A Prostate Exam

    There are different factors that will determine how often you need to have a prostate exam and prostate cancer screening.

    While PSA levels are one factor, they vary by age. Other factors like your family history, overall health, diet, and lifestyle, also play into how often you should have your prostate checked.

    Your provider will take all of these factors into account when they are recommending the timing and frequency of your future prostate cancer screenings.

    If you’re not due for a prostate cancer exam yet but notice changes in your health or are having symptoms that you think might be related to your prostate, don’t wait. You can always ask your provider for a checkup sooner.

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