Most of us would say that if we had the chance to prevent something bad from happening we would. However, many times we don’t take advantage of those. Cancer screenings are one way of taking preventive measures for your health, yet many people are hesitant to do it or think that it’s a waste of time.
Getting screened for cancer is never a bad idea. Even if you don’t have a strong family history of prostate cancer, prostate cancer screening can help identify cancer early on when treatment is most effective. Most prostate cancers grow slowly or not at all and don’t always show symptoms.
Screenings can provide results that will cause your doctor to recommend a biopsy or other further testing. The two most common tests used to screen for prostate cancer are the digital rectal exam and the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. The first one checks for abnormalities, lumps or an enlarged prostate. The second test will measure the level of PSA in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The level tends to be higher in men who have prostate cancer. In most cases, if the PSA is above 4.0 ng/mL, your physician will recommend the next step to discover if it’s cancer, often that means a biopsy.
When to start screening is generally an individual decision. Most medical professionals recommend that if you have a high risk, then you should start at age 40. If you are at average risk, you should have an initial screening starting no later than age 50.
If no prostate cancer is found during the screening, the time in between future screenings depends on the results of the PSA. Some men may only require every two years, but men who have a PSA level of 2.5 ng/mL or higher should be screened every year.
If you have questions about screening for prostate cancer or would like to talk to one of our doctors, contact us at 1-877-321-8452.