What is Prostate Cancer?
Thomas Ewing, M.D.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men following skin cancer. It begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. They can spread to distant parts of the body and affect organs. Early prostate cancer normally doesn’t cause symptoms. However, advanced prostate cancer may cause symptoms, such as blood in the urine or semen, weakness in the legs, pain in the hips or problems urinating. It’s important to get tested and detect the cancer early, when it is most easily treated.
Should I get tested?
We don’t know what causes prostate cancer but we do know the risk factors that increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. As you get older, your risk for prostate cancer increases. At age 50, every man should get tested for prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 prostate cancers occur in men over the age of 65.
Men with a close family member, father or brother, who had prostate cancer are more likely to get it. If you have a close family member who had prostate cancer at an early age, it is recommended to get tested at age 40. Prostate cancer is most common in African American men. The American Cancer Society states if you are African American and have a close relative diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is recommended to get tested at age 45.
What are the different prostate cancer screening tests?
A Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) can tell your doctor about your prostate. The PSA test is a blood test to check the level of prostate-specific antigen, a protein made by the prostate gland in your blood. You have a higher chance of having prostate cancer if your PSA level is high. However PSA level can be high with prostate infections and other prostate problems. If your PSA level is high, your physician may perform a digital rectal exam.
Moreover, a DRE can find cancer when the PSA level is not high. Your physician may do both tests depending on your risk factors. Your physician puts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate gland that may need to be tested. If your PSA level or your DRE suggests cancer, you may need a biopsy to know for sure if you have prostate cancer.
During a biopsy, a needle is put into your prostate gland and a small sample is removed. The tiny piece of your prostate is examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present. The biopsy takes only a few minutes, and there is no pain.
What are the benefits of getting tested?
One of the possible benefits of getting screened is finding prostate cancer early and getting treated before it becomes deadly. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Early detection is the best protection against prostate cancer. Also, by getting screened, you and your family can have peace of mind. The decision is yours to get tested.
FREE PSA Screening at Touro
Touro Infirmary is offering free PSA Screenings to men age 40+ between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m on Thursday, September 29 in the Foucher Room, 2nd floor. Ten minute appointment times will be scheduled with a follow-up phone call after your online registration is complete.
One of the best screening tools available for detecting prostate cancer is the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The blood test provides men with a baseline PSA value that they can then track from year to year. It can also help healthcare professionals identify potential risk and determine if they need to be followed more closely from year to year.
Results will be mailed within one week following the screening.
Pints for Prostates
Thomas Ewing, M.D. graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 2000. He specializes in Urology and has been in practice for over 15 years.