“1 in 7 men will have a diagnosis of prostate cancer in their lifetime according to the American Cancer Society,” as reported by Medical News Today.
In observance of National Prostate Health Month (NPHM) in North America every September, we here at KWIR Media would like to share some important information about prostate cancer.
As you read in our intro sentence to this article, prostate cancer is a diagnosis that affects a great deal of men, 1 out of every 7. And there are no current methods to prevent it as communicated by Medical News Today.
While researchers continue to work out whether or not prostate cancer can be prevented, prostate exams are performed to reduce the high numbers of deaths from the disease.
Thankfully, prostate exams (screening) do exist to catch early signs of prostate cancer. Medical News Today via the recommendation of the American Cancer Society indicated the male age group and demographic who should do screenings.
Men worldwide over the age of 50 are strongly advised to have at least an informed discussion with their healthcare provider about screening for prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommend that the discussion about screening should take place for men at the following ages:
- 50 years of age for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- 45 years of age for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African-Americans and men who have a father, brother, or son diagnosed with prostate cancer at a younger than age 65.
- 40 years of age for men with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.
Some groups do not recommend routine screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force changed their recommendations
in 2012 to recommend that men are not screened for prostate cancer. Update: “The Task Force has an updated 2018 recommendation, which replaces the 2012 recommendation. Instead of recommending against screening for all men, the Task Force now recommends that the decision to undergo prostate cancer screening should be an individual one for men aged 55 to 69 years, and recommends against screening for men 70 years and older,” as communicated to Kwir Media by Lauren Bauer, USPSTF Media Contact.
The two main test used for screening are the digital rectal exam better known as DRE and the prostate-specific antigen test better known as PSA.
Neither test can confirm prostate cancer. However, they can reveal strong signs that a man has a prostate problem and requires further testing such as a prostate biopsy.
Men who want to be screened should be tested with the PSA blood test. If a man gives his consent, the DRE is usually conducted as an early part of the screening.
In the DRE, a doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. They do this to check the size of the prostate and feel for abnormalities.
In the PSA test, a blood sample is taken so that the level of PSA in the blood can be measured. PSA is a protein made by the prostate.
Doctors are the only ones that can perform a PSA and it is highly recommended to have both tests administered by a medical professional but the DRE can be done at home by yourself or by someone else.
To help illustrate how to self-administered a DRE, we have included the step-by-step directions provided by wikihow.com, part 2 of their “How to Check Your Prostate” article. For part 1, “Deciding If You Need a Prostate Screening” please click here.