Most men would agree that they would seize the chance to prevent an unfavorable event from occurring if given the opportunity. Nonetheless, more often than not, men need to take advantage of such opportunities when it comes to prostate cancer. Screening for prostate cancer represents one such opportunity for taking preventive measures for health. Unfortunately, many men refuse to undergo such screenings or perceive them as a waste of time.
Why you should be screened for prostate cancer
In reality, undergoing prostate cancer screening is always a wise choice. Even in cases where a man has no family history, prostate cancer screening plays a vital role in identifying localized early cancer (before it has spread) when treatment is most effective. Most prostate cancers tend to grow slowly, or not at all, and do not necessarily present any observable symptoms.
Screenings can provide results that your doctor may recommend a biopsy or further testing if something suspicious is found. The primary screening tests for prostate cancer are the digital rectal exam (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The DRE is when the doctors use a gloved finger to palpate the prostate gland checking for any abnormalities such as lumps or an enlarged prostate.
The PSA test is done by drawing blood at a doctor’s office, that is sent off to a lab, that determines the level of PSA in a man’s blood. Both normal and malignant cell make PSA which is a protein. PSA is released into the bloodstream, and a blood test can measure the level. Men who have prostate cancer will likely have elevated levels of PSA. Generally, men with a PSA above 4.0 ng/mL, will be advised by their physician to further explore if they have prostate cancer by recommending a biopsy.
When should men begin screening for prostate cancer
The decision of when to begin prostate cancer screening is typically an individualized determination. However, baseline screening for all men should being at the age of 40. Young men can also develop prostate cancer and when they do, it is often very aggressive and more deadly.
If no prostate cancer is detected during the initial screening, a man’s doctor will determine the frequency of subsequent screenings based on the results of the PSA, their family history, ethnicity (Black men have higher rates of more deadly prostate cancer), and other factors. Men with a PSA level of 2.5 ng/mL or higher should be screened annually, while men with lower levels may require screening every two years.
It is crucial to note that all men, when deciding whether to have a prostate cancer screening or not, should always discuss it in consultation with their healthcare provider.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.