Prostate Exam Vs Colonoscopy: Whats The Difference
At first glance, it might seem that a prostate exam is similar to a colonoscopy. After all, both exams involve your rectal area. However, these two tests are quite different.
While a prostate exam involves feeling the prostate with a gloved finger, a colonoscopy examines the walls of your colon by inserting a flexible camera into your rectum. The prostate is not examined at all during this procedure unless your healthcare provider manually performs an exam.
A prostate exam is a fairly quick procedure performed in an office setting. A colonoscopy, on the other hand, is an outpatient procedure in the hospital that requires IV sedation.
What Is A Digital Rectal Exam
Men need to understand what exactly a rectal examination is. This education should be important, in addition to understanding why this process needs to be done. Prostate exams are commonly performed in male patients.
A digital rectal exam is a procedure that doctors use to identify problems with the prostate gland. This is a standard method for doctors to analyze the health of the prostate in a male patient. It is also a procedure that does not require any invasive tools. The process is quick and easy for the doctor to conduct.
Men need to realize that the test may be a little uncomfortable. It is still a non-invasive process, however.
Medical History And Physical Exam
If your doctor suspects you might have prostate cancer, you will be asked about symptoms you are having, such as any urinary or sexual problems, and how long you have had them. You might also be asked about possible risk factors, including your family history.
Your doctor will also examine you. This might include a digital rectal exam , during which the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate that might be cancer. If you do have cancer, the DRE can sometimes help tell if its only on one side of the prostate, if its on both sides, or if its likely to have spread beyond the prostate to nearby tissues. Your doctor may also examine other areas of your body.
After the exam, your doctor might then order some tests.
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What Does Prostate Cancer Screening Entail
There are two types of prostate cancer screening exams and both should be done in conjunction with the other: A digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen blood test .
A DRE is a physical exam in which the physician lubricates a gloved finger to gently examine the patients rectum. If it is enlarged or irregular in shape, the doctor will be able to easily detect it. While it may be uncomfortable, the test brief and can be life-saving.
A PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigens in the blood. Rising levels of PSA can be one of the first signs of prostate cancer, allowing for early detection and treatment.
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Who Should Get A Prostate Exam
Men should understand the importance of a prostate exam. This will help men determine when it is essential for them to get a digital rectal exam .
Age is one of the most important risk factors associated with prostate problems. The risk tends to increase once a man reaches the age of 40. Thus, men over 40 should ensure they get regular health screening. The man should also provide a prostate exam as part of the health screening.
This becomes especially important once the man reaches the age of 60. The majority of prostate problems occur in men of this age and older. Thus, at the age of 60, a man should never delay a prostate exam.
There are other reasons for men to get a prostate exam, apart from age.
Men who experience certain symptoms should ensure they get a prostate exam. A man should educate himself on common symptoms associated with prostate problems.
The sooner the prostate exam is done once the symptoms appear, the earlier a diagnosis can be made.
Most prostate conditions will cause an enlargement of the gland. Sometimes inflammation may affect the gland instead. The prostate gland is situated directly beneath the bladder. It also surrounds the urethra. This is why men will usually experience lower urinary symptoms when they have a prostate problem.
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What Is Prostate Cancer Screening
The prostate is a gland at the base of the male bladder which wraps itself around the beginning of the urethra . Though small, it can cause big problems for mens well-being. Prostate cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in Australian men, after heart attacks, lung cancer and stroke.
The hope with cancer screening is that, by picking up cancer early, we may forestall death and avoid suffering. But for prostate cancer, our screening tests have significant limitations.
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Are You Seeing Prostate Cancer Becoming More Prevalent In Younger Patients
Its pretty rare. Its less common that men in their 40s have prostate cancer, but, we also are very rarely screening them. The young men who come in to be screened tend to have one of those high-risk features. They most likely had a father who had prostate cancer, so theyre nervous about it. Or theyre African-American, and theyve been flagged by their health care providers.
If youre young, your quality of life is even more important to you right now. We know that, if diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer, a person will need treatment at some time in life. If we can delay treatmentwhich could negatively impact urinary or sexual functionby several years, then we should do that and obviously discuss that there is a low but possible chance of metastasis developing during that time.
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Types Of Prostate Exams
There are two traditionally universal methods for screening a prostate, the PSA and DRE. The PSA is Prostate-Specific-Antigen test measures the amount of PSA present in a mans blood. PSA is a protein produced by the cells in the prostate and is constantly circulating through mens blood. The PSA is controversially famous for misdiagnoses and the benefits of early detection are kind of weighed against false results. The test is highly sensitive and basically detects any increase in PSA numbers and returns it as a positive result. Often the cancerous presence it detects is so small it would never be considered life-threatening. Since there is no standard official level of PSA that is considered normal, doctors and the PSA can report false results frequently as every persons levels are unique and they fluctuate wildly from person to person. Some men with low levels actually have prostate cancer while other men with high levels of PSA do not have cancer, hence the confusion over PSA test results.
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Screenings Can Lead To High Costs
The cost for a PSA test is fairly lowabout $40.
If your result is abnormal, the costs start adding up. Your doctor will usually refer you to a urologist for a biopsy. Costs may include:
- A consultation fee .
- An ultrasound fee .
- Additional professional fees .
- Biopsy fees .
If the biopsy causes problems, there are more costs. You might also have hospital costs.
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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 â 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.
What Should I Expect During A Prostate Exam
As mentioned above, there are two types of screenings that your healthcare provider may use to detect prostate cancer: a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam . Research shows that the PSA blood test is more effective for detecting prostate cancer. However, the DRE can still find cancer in people with normal PSA levels. For this reason, many healthcare providers recommend both.
Neither test confirms you have prostate cancer, which is why theyre considered screening assessments rather than diagnostic tests.
PSA blood test
For this test, your healthcare provider simply draws a sample of your blood and sends it to a lab for analysis. The PSA blood test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in your blood.
There is no official cutoff score that can determine whether or not you have prostate cancer. Instead, the results are used as a gauge to determine if more testing is needed.
Digital rectal exam
During a DRE, your healthcare provider inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum. This way, they can feel your prostate to see if there are any lumps or bumps on the back portion of the gland .
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Can A Female Doctor And Nurse Perform A Male Genital Exam
glowing waterbed over a year ago
Would like to hear from guys who had one done and female Drs and nurses who performed them.
Is a female Doctor allowed to perform a male genital exam? And will she be alone or have to have a female chaperone with her? I injured my groin and my primary Dr is female. So I was wondering if she would be the one to perform the exam. Or would a male Dr do it since I’m male. If it’s my female Dr and she has to have a nurse with her. I’m worried that I will get an erection in front of the two of them. Will they be mad if that happens while she is examining me? This is my first time having an exam like this and I just want to know what to expect. Like will I have to be naked the whole time with her in the room? And will the nurse see my penis as well as the dr? Thanks for any advice.
over a year ago
Some years later I was at the hospital for a GI series wearing a johnny, laying on my side and it opened up so I was fully exposed to the nurse who was assisting. She was the wife of the bartender where my wife and I went to eat nearly every weekend so I got to see her often.
When I had bypass surgery they sent in a teenaged girl to give me a full body shave. She had to move my penis and testicles around to do that. I was out when they inserted the catheter but a nurse removed it for me to go home and she held my penis while doing that.
So you get used to medical procedures.
Erickson2411 months ago
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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Two Main Screening Tests
There are two tests commonly used to screen for prostate cancer:
- The Digital Rectal Exam : A doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for lumps or other abnormalities.
- The Prostate Specific Antigen Test: This exam measures the level of PSA in the blood. The levels of PSA in the blood are often higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be high in other conditions that affect the prostate.Usually, the higher the bloods PSA level is, the more likely it is that a prostate problem is present. But other factors, such as age and race, also can raise PSA levels. PSA levels also can be impacted by certain medical procedures, some medications, an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection.Since your PSA level may be high for other reasons, your doctor will need to interpret the test results.
If the results of the PSA and/or DRE suggest that you might have prostate cancer, your doctor will need to do a prostate biopsy to find out. This means a sample of your prostate tissue will be removed with a needle and sent to a lab, where a specialist will determine if it contains cancer cells.
What Happens During A Digital Rectal Exam
Your health care provider will insert a gloved finger into the rectum and feel the prostate for hard, lumpy, or abnormal areas. The test takes only a few minutes to complete.
You may feel slight, momentary discomfort during the test. The procedure does not cause significant pain or any damage to the prostate.
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 410 ng/ml are borderline. There is a 25% chance that cancer is present, and the person will usually need additional tests.
- 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.
Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Problems
Prostate cancer does not always show symptoms. That’s why screening is important as you get older.
Urinary problems can be a sign of prostate cancer. However, there can be many benign reasons for an infected, enlarged, or inflamed prostate. Urination symptoms that may be caused by prostate problems include:
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Straining when peeing
- Blood in the urine or semen
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Use In Men Already Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
The PSA test can also be useful if you have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- In men just diagnosed with prostate cancer, the PSA level can be used together with physical exam results and tumor grade to help decide if other tests are needed.
- The PSA level is used to help determine the stage of your cancer. This can affect your treatment options, since some treatments are not likely to be helpful if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- PSA tests are often an important part of determining how well treatment is working, as well as in watching for a possible recurrence of the cancer after treatment .
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.
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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