Prostate cancer is cancer of the small, walnut-shaped gland in males that is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The tube that carries urine runs through the prostate and contains cells that develop the fluid that nourish and protect sperm. Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men making it the most common form of cancer in the United States.
Because prostate cancer often develops slowly, many men do not notice any symptoms in the early stages of the cancer when it is easiest to treat and confined to the prostate. When signs and symptoms do occur, they vary based on the stage of the cancer and how far it has spread. Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include
Many factors determine a man’s risk for prostate cancer. They are:
Men over the age of 50 should have a DRE and PSA blood test performed yearly by a licensed medical professional. If you have any of the risk factors mentioned above, you may want to begin your screenings earlier. We encourage you to discuss this with your doctor.
Prostate Cancer is frequently diagnosed during routine screenings such as a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) and Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.
A Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) feels for abnormalities on the prostate (both growths and enlargement). While it is not an entirely comfortable experience, it is one that takes a matter of seconds and saves lives.
A Prostate-Specific Antigen blood test checks the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood; elevated PSA levels can be a sign of cancer.
If the above tests raise any concerns, additional tests may be needed to determine if it is cancer and if so, the stage of the disease. These tests may include a transrectal ultrasound, bone scan, CT/MRI or a biopsy with a Gleason score. A Gleason score is determined by the pathologist and is used for staging.
You can learn more about prostate cancer screenings, risk and treatment options by talking to your doctor. If you do not have a primary care physician, call 502.589.3027 to find a physician near you.