A Cancer Prevention Plan For Men
Finding cancer early improves your chances of successful treatment and long-term survival.
- lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal
- unusual changes in your testicles changes in shape, consistency or lumpiness
- coughs that don’t go away or show blood, a hoarseness that persists
- weight loss that can’t be explained
- moles that have changed shape, size or colour, or bleed, or an inflamed skin sore that hasn’t healed
- blood in a bowel motion
- persistent changes in toilet habits
- urinary problems or changes.
These symptoms are often related to more common, less serious health problems. However, if you notice any unusual changes, or these symptoms persist, visit your doctor.
The Test Is Often Not Needed
Most men with high PSAs dont have prostate cancer. Their high PSAs might be due to:
- An enlarged prostate gland.
- Recent sexual activity.
- A recent, long bike ride.
Up to 25% of men with high PSAs may have prostate cancer, depending on age and PSA level. But most of these cancers do not cause problems. It is common for older men to have some cancer cells in their prostate glands. These cancers are usually slow to grow. They are not likely to spread beyond the prostate. They usually dont cause symptoms, or death.
Studies show that routine PSA tests of 1,000 men ages 55 to 69 prevent one prostate cancer death. But the PSA also has risks.
What Does The Psa Test Involve
The PSA test involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The results indicate:
Normal levels: Most healthy adult males have PSA levels below 4 nanograms per milliliter .
Borderline levels: PSA levels of 4â10 ng/ml are borderline. There is a 1 in 4 chance that cancer is present.
High levels: If PSA levels are over 10 ng/ml, there is a 50% chance that the person has prostate cancer. The specialist will likely recommend more testing, including a prostate biopsy.
It is important to note that PSA levels can naturally vary from person to person. A person with high levels may not have prostate cancer. On the other hand, about 15% of people who test positive for prostate cancer after a biopsy have PSA levels below 4 ng/ml.
Prostate cancer is not the only cause of high PSA levels. Find out more about the other causes here.
Read Also: How To Stop Leaking After Prostate Surgery
Health & Wellnessdiagnosed With Prostate Cancer At 37 Man Shares Story To Erase Stigma
This examination lasts “15 to 20 seconds,” according to Ehdaie, and is “uncomfortable” but “not painful.” Rettig noted that on its own, the digital exam is “not going to add very much,” but can be paired with the blood test to give a full picture of the patient’s health situation.
After that exam is completed and the bloodwork is done, the results are “evaluated together.”
“A decision would be made to either pursue further tests because the screenings suggest there may be something that would be of concern, or they would return at the next scheduled ,” Ehdaie said.
Changes In Your Testicles
Although testicular cancer is rare, it is one of the most common cancers in men aged between 15 and 45. It is also one of the most curable cancers if found early.
The causes of this cancer are unclear, but men who have had an undescended testicle are at increased risk. Be aware of what is normal for you and if you see or feel any changes, see your doctor. Don’t let embarrassment get in the way.
Read Also: Does Having Sex Help An Enlarged Prostate
American Cancer Society Recommendations For Prostate Cancer Early Detection
The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age .
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk .
After this discussion, men who want to be screened should get the prostate-specific antigen blood test. The digital rectal exam may also be done as a part of screening.
If, after this discussion, a man is unable to decide if testing is right for him, the screening decision can be made by the health care provider, who should take into account the mans general health preferences and values.
If no prostate cancer is found as a result of screening, the time between future screenings depends on the results of the PSA blood test:
- Men who choose to be tested who have a PSA of less than 2.5 ng/mL may only need to be retested every 2 years.
- Screening should be done yearly for men whose PSA level is 2.5 ng/mL or higher.
What Is The Prostate
The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis, found only in men.
About the size of a satsuma, it’s located between the penis and the bladder, and surrounds the urethra.
The main function of the prostate is to produce a thick white fluid that creates semen when mixed with the sperm produced by the testicles.
Recommended Reading: Can A Prostate Biopsy Spread Cancer
When To Startand Stopscreening
The doctors and researchers who recommend screening argue that cases of prostate cancer found very early can be cured more quickly, with less chance of relapse or spread. Those who recommend against routine screening point to the slow-moving nature of prostate cancer and the side effects of surgical and medical treatment, which can be considerable.
The introduction of PSA screening in the US led to an initial increase in the number of prostate cancer cases diagnosed each year, even though many of these new cases were non-aggressive or low-risk prostate cancer. The issue was not that screening was harmful, it was that many of these low-risk cancers did not necessarily need immediate treatment. It seems strange to say that a patient might be better off leaving cancer untreated, but in some cases, it can be true. For a few years, the United States Preventative Services Task Force recommended against PSA screening. We are now seeing more cases of advanced prostate cancer diagnosed in recent years. This may be a long-tail effect of that USPSTF recommendation. It has now been changed to note that for men aged 55 to 69 years, the decision to undergo PSA screening is an individual one and should be discussed with your doctor. USPSTF continues to recommend against screening for men aged 70 and over.
Symptoms Of Urinary Problems
Urinary symptoms commonly experienced with prostate problems include:
- the need to urinate frequently during the night
- urinating more often during the day
- urinary urgency the urge to urinate can be so strong and sudden that you may not reach the toilet in time
- the urine stream is slow to start
- urine dribbling for some time after finishing urination
- a sensation that the bladder isn’t fully emptied after urination
- lack of force to the urine flow, which makes directing the stream difficult
- the sensation of needing to go again soon after urinating.
Although these symptoms often do not need treatment, see your doctor if they are causing you difficulty, as they can be successfully treated.
Read Also: How Far In Is Your Prostate
What To Expect During The Exam
You can get a prostate exam easily and quickly at your doctors office. Generally, for cancer screenings, your doctor will take a simple blood test.
Your doctor might also choose to perform a DRE. Before performing this exam, your doctor will ask you to change into a gown, removing your clothing from the waist down.
During a DRE, your doctor will ask you to bend over at the waist or lie on the exam table in a fetal position, with your knees to your chest. They will then insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum.
Your doctor will feel for anything abnormal, such as bumps or hard or soft areas that might indicate a problem. Your doctor may also be able to feel if your prostate is enlarged.
A digital rectal exam can be uncomfortable, especially if you have hemorrhoids, but isnt overly painful. It will last only a couple of minutes.
A DRE is one of your doctors tools that can help them detect several prostate and rectal problems, including:
- prostate cancer
- abnormal masses in your rectum and anus
Your doctor will be able to tell immediately if there are any areas of concern that may warrant further testing.
The results of a DRE exam are either normal or abnormal, but doctors typically rely on several different tests to help them make a prostate cancer diagnosis.
If your doctor feels something abnormal during the DRE, they will probably recommend getting a PSA blood test, if you havent done so already.
- transrectal ultrasound
Preparing For A Prostate Exam
If you decide to get a prostate cancer screening, your doctor will likely order a blood test, so inform the person drawing your blood if youre prone to dizziness.
Your doctor may ask you to sign a consent form before performing a cancer screening.
Don’t Miss: How To Massage A Man’s Prostate
What Do The Results Mean
PSA levels may be above the baseline for various reasons other than prostate cancer.
Other factors that can raise PSA levels include:
- older age
- an enlarged prostate Ã¢ because of benign prostatic hyperplasia , for example
- prostatitis, which is inflammation and swelling of the prostate
Also, people with obesity may have lower PSA readings.
In addition, some medications may reduce PSA levels, including:
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which can help treat BPH
- aspirin, which some people take regularly as a blood thinner
- statins, which help manage cholesterol levels
- thiazide diuretics, a kind of water pill that can help reduce high blood pressure
Some herbal medicines and supplements can also lower PSA levels. Tell the doctor about any medications and supplements 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.
The PCA3 is another test for prostate cancer that doctors use in some circumstances. Find out more.
Who Should Get A Prostate Exam
Starting at age 50, all men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor. The American Cancer Society advises men at higher risk to have this conversation at age 45.
Youre considered to have an increased risk if youre African-American or if a first-degree relative had prostate cancer before age 65. If more than one first-degree relative had prostate cancer before age 65, you might want to consider beginning prostate cancer screening even earlier.
Prostate cancer is easier to treat before it spreads. However, some prostate cancers are so slow-growing that they dont always require treatment. A lot depends on your age and other factors.
Discuss your risk factors with your doctor, and ask if you should have a prostate exam as part of your yearly checkup.
Read Also: Can Young Men Get Prostate Cancer
What Is A Prostate Screening
A prostate screening should be done routinely once a man turns a certain age. This in order to detect undiagnosed prostate cancer in someone who may not have any symptoms. There are two main tests that a man must undergo during a prostate screening: A PSA test and digital rectal exam. The PSA test checks the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. The digital rectal exam consists of the doctor feeling for any abnormalities within a mans prostate.
Both types of prostate screening tests are important to have because they test for different things. This means that complete confidence regarding the state of your prostate health requires both tests. As the most common cancer for men, it can be detected early and treated.
Inflammation Of The Prostate Gland
Bacteria sometimes cause prostatitis . More commonly, the underlying cause is uncertain. Consult your doctor promptly if you experience:
- pain in the groin
- urgent and frequent urination.;
Treatment with antibiotics is essential for acute bacterial prostatitis. Admission to hospital is often necessary and, as with chronic bacterial prostatitis, specific antibacterial drugs are required for a long time.;
Recommended Reading: How To Get To A Man’s Prostate
What Age Should Men Be Screened For Prostate Cancer
The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends that Black men or men with a family history of cancer be screened at the age of 40; otherwise, the organization advises getting screened at 45. The American Cancer Society recommends that men at “average risk” be screened at the age of 50, while “men at high risk of developing prostate cancer” like Black men and men who have a first-degree relative, like a father or brother, who were diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65, be screened at 45. Men at “even higher risk” should be screened at 40.
In 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation advising men to start talking about screenings with their doctors at the age of 55.
Should You Know Your Psa Level
Instead of a national screening programme, there is an informed choice programme, called prostate cancer risk management, for healthy men aged 50 or over who ask their GP about PSA testing. It aims to give men good information on the pros and cons of a PSA test.
If you’re a man aged 50 or over and decide to have your PSA levels tested after talking to your GP, they can arrange for it to be carried out free on the NHS.
If results show you have a raised level of PSA, your GP may suggest further tests.
Also Check: What Are The Symptoms Of Prostatitis
Do All Men Who Are Treated For Prostate Cancer Lose Sexual And Urinary Function
Its definitely not true that all men are incontinent and impotent after treatment for prostate cancer. Urinary incontinence is usually temporary.;
There can be a sexual impact for guys who have normal function. If the cancer is near their nerve bundle, theyre going to have a decrease in sexual function. If its not, and we can do bilateral nerve sparing surgery, studies show 70 percent can get back their normal sexual function. It all depends on where the cancer is. But the truth is that we cant predict very well who will be the 30 percent who will haveor still haveED; some already do have ED because of age, diabetes, hypertension or renal failure.
How To Keep Your Prostate Healthy
A key part of keeping your prostate in good health is to be aware of any changes when you urinate or any discomfort in your lower abdomen, pelvis and anal area. If you notice anything that concerns you, visit a doctor. At Spire Healthcare, you can get the help you need with our mens health services, which provides specialist care for men with prostate, penile, testicular and bladder problems.
You can also take steps to prevent prostate issues by making changes to your lifestyle that promote good general health, which is thought to have a knock-on effect on promoting good prostate health. There are three main approaches:;
Don’t Miss: Is Turmeric Good For Prostate
Early Detection Saves Lives
Prostate cancer;is the most common cancer affecting Australian men .
Prostate cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the prostate gland. This gland is only found in males and is about the size of a walnut.
The causes of prostate cancer are not understood and there is currently no clear prevention strategy.
Prostate Growth: A Normal Part Of Aging
Starting around age 25, the adult prostate begins to enlarge slowly. The condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia , and it has nothing to do with cancer.
Itâs not clear why the growth happens. What is clear, however, is that around age 50, many men begin to have uncomfortable symptoms as a result of this enlargement. They may have to go to the bathroom more urgently and often, especially at night — and when they do, itâs often difficult to get a strong stream started or to empty the bladder.
This happens because the prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out through the penis. As the prostate grows, it compresses that tube, and that makes urination difficult.
If it gets so bad that you canât pee at all, thatâs a medical emergency. Get to an emergency room or call 911 immediately.
Also Check: How To Reduce Prostate Enlargement With Diet
How Often Do I Need A Prostate Exam
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men, and its also highly treatable if caught early. There are a number of treatment options that have proven to be successful in combatting prostate cancer, even in its advanced stage.
Early detection is crucial because it gives you more treatment options and a better chance of eliminating cancer. The prostate-specific antigen test is used to check the PSA levels in your blood, and these levels are different for every man the indicator is whether the number is going up as compared to your prior PSA exam result. If your PSA is high the first time you have the test, your doctor may ask you to have a biopsy.
Similarly, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam during your annual checkup to feel for any lumps or enlargement of your prostate. Lets talk about how often you might need to have a prostate exam and what you can expect.