Men’s Health: Exploring Prostate Cancer Screening.

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Men’s health is important, hence, to demystify prostate cancer screening is an area that needs attention. An insight will be provided to answer all the questions of prostate cancer screening.

What is prostate cancer?

Cancer located in the prostate is called prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, and the second leading cause of cancer death in men. The prostate is a key part of the male reproductive system and is linked closely with the urinary system. About the size of a walnut, the prostate is located below the bladder, where urine is stored, and in front of the rectum. It makes and stores seminal fluid, a milky fluid that nourishes sperm.

The prostate usually is healthy in younger men. As a man grows older, however, the prostate gland frequently becomes a source of trouble.The three most common prostate problems are inflammation (prostatitis), prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia/BPH) and prostate cancer.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

When prostate cancer is in its earliest stages, it often causes no pain or other symptoms. It usually grows slowly and symptoms do not appear for years. However, prostate cancer can cause any of these problems:

• A need to urinate frequently, especially at night

• Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine

• Inability to urinate

• Weak or interrupted flow of urine

• Pain or burning when urinating

• Difficulty in having an erection

• Painful ejaculation

• Blood in urine or semen

• Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

Any of these symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer or by other, less serious health problems, such as BPH or an infection. A man who has these symptoms should see his primary care doctor or a urologist (a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the genitourinary system)

Who is at risk for prostate cancer?

If you have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have a higher risk of developing the disease; especially if the disease occurred at an early age (younger than age 55) or in multiple generations of your family.

What tests are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer?

The two most commonly used screening tests are:

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test: This test looks for PSA, a substance that may be found in high amounts in men with prostate cancer. However, a high PSA level does not always mean that a man has prostate cancer. PSA levels may be high in men with other types of prostate problems.

Digital rectal exam (DRE): For this test, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for lumps or anything else unusual.

The purpose of screening is to detect prostate cancer at its earliest stages, before any symptoms have developed.

Benefits of a DRE and PSA.

A normal PSA test and DRE exam may put your mind at ease. A PSA test may find prostate cancer early, before it has spread. Early treatment of prostate cancer may help some men to avoid problems from cancer. Early treatment of prostate cancer may help some men live longer.

What is the Recommended age for prostate cancer screening?

Professional organizations differ in their recommendations about who should and who shouldn’t get a PSA screening test. While some have definitive guidelines, it is recommended by others that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. Organizations that do recommend PSA screening generally encourage the test in men between the ages of 40 and 70, and in men with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

How often should men be screened for prostate cancer?​

Assuming 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.

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the prostate gland in men. Symptoms may not appear in the early stages, but as the cancer grows, it can cause urinary problems and pain in the back, hips, or pelvis. Treatment options depend on the stage of the cancer and the patient’s overall health. The outlook for prostate cancer is generally good if it is detected and treated early.

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