When Should I Get a Prostate Exam?
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer that affects men. Prostate screenings are an important part of early cancer detection, but when do you need one? There is some debate over when these screenings should start and how often they’re needed. Learn more about prostate cancer and the general recommendations for screenings.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
In the early stages of this disease, you might not experience any noticeable symptoms. As prostate cancer becomes worse over time, you might start to have signs of it. Some of these include difficulty with urination, lower pressure or force when you urinate and blood in your semen. Other symptoms that can occur include soreness in your pelvic area, pain in your bones and erectile dysfunction. If you have any signs or symptoms of prostate cancer, it’s important to see your doctor.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Anyone with a prostate can get prostate cancer, but having certain risk factors can raise your chance of getting this disease. Risk factors for prostate cancer include having a family history of this disease and being obese. Your risk also gets higher as you get older. If you have any risk factors for prostate cancer, your doctor will recommend having prostate screenings done sooner than usual.
Prostate Cancer Prevention
There is no guaranteed way to prevent yourself from getting prostate cancer, but you can significantly lower your risk. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting prostate screenings as often as your doctor recommends can help prevent you from dealing with more advanced forms of this disease. The lifestyle changes you should make include eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and staying away from foods that are high in fat. Exercising on a regular basis and losing excess weight can also help lower your risk of getting prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screenings
When should you begin to have prostate cancer screenings? Since this disease typically takes a long time to develop, early screenings are generally only recommended for those who are at the highest risk of having it. Men who are 40 or older might need to have prostate screenings done if they have a very high risk of prostate cancer. Those who have an average risk of prostate cancer and are otherwise in good health should talk to their doctor about the right time to start screenings. For some men, this might be when they’re around 40 to 45, but others might be able to wait until they’re 50. Your doctor will be able to let you know how often you should have these screenings done.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Those with screening results that indicate that cancer might be present will typically have a biopsy done to confirm this diagnosis. Other testing will be done to see how advanced the cancer is. Treatment for prostate cancer depends on how advanced it is and whether or not it is causing any serious health complications. Options for cancer treatment generally include surgical removal of the prostate, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. If needed, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. Keep in mind that in some cases, doctors recommend a wait-and-see approach, since this cancer develops very slowly.
If you’re due for a prostate screening, please contact Tri-County Medical Clinic to set up an appointment. Our men’s health clinic in Sterling Heights provides prostate care services, including cancer screenings, ultrasound, and biopsies.