Let’s face it, a prostate cancer test is something few men want to complete. But for many men, a prostate cancer screening ultimately may prove to be the difference between life and death. If you get a prostate cancer test when you turn 40, you may reap the benefits of your decision for literally years to come.
Prostate Cancer: Here’s What You Need to Know
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). One in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime, ACS notes. Additionally, ACS estimates nearly 165,000 new prostate cancer cases will be reported and roughly 29,000 prostate cancer deaths will occur in 2018.
In most instances, prostate cancer develops in older men. The average age at the time of a prostate cancer diagnosis is 66, ACS states. Meanwhile, 60% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and prostate cancer is rarely reported among men under 40.
Prostate cancer is a serious problem, but most men with a prostate cancer diagnosis can manage this condition. ACS points out more than 2.9 million men in the United States have received a prostate cancer diagnosis during their lifetime and are still alive today. Furthermore, ACS estimates the five-year survival rate in local-stage prostate cancer cases in which cancer has not spread outside the body is nearly 100%.
A prostate cancer screening helps men identify prostate cancer in its early stages. That way, men can address prostate cancer before it spreads throughout the body and increase the likelihood of fast, effective recovery.
What to Expect During a Prostate Cancer Screening
A prostate cancer screening generally involves two tests: a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). The PSA test is used to review the level of PSA in the bloodstream. For most men, a healthy PSA level falls below 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Comparatively, a DRE requires a doctor to insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. The doctor then feels for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate.
If prostate cancer screening results are not normal, a doctor may request a prostate biopsy. At this point, the doctor uses a needle to remove a sample of prostate tissue from a patient. Next, a lab specialist will examine the tissue sample and find out if it contains any cancer cells.
Also, a doctor may request a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) if he or she suspects a patient is dealing with prostate cancer. A TRUS procedure involves the use of soundwaves to create an image of the prostate gland. It allows a doctor to visualize the prostate gland and identify any abnormalities in the rectum and nearby structures.
Although prostate cancer screenings are valuable, it is important to recognize that no tests are perfect. In some instances, a prostate cancer screening fails to detect cancer or identifies red flags that turn out to be harmless. Yet when it comes to prostate cancer, it is always better to err on the side of caution. And if men undergo regular prostate cancer screenings starting at age 40, they can address the risks associated with prostate cancer as soon as they are detected.
Is an Annual Prostate Cancer Screening Necessary?
Prostate cancer testing may be performed annually. Yet how frequently an individual receives a prostate cancer screening may vary based on several risk factors, including:
- Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases as a person gets older.
- Ethnicity: Recent research indicates African-American men are more susceptible than others to prostate cancer.
- Family History: An individual may be more likely than others to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis if a parent, brother or other family member received a prostate cancer diagnosis before the age of 65.
- Diet: A high-fat diet increases an individual’s risk of prostate cancer.
In addition to periodic prostate cancer screenings, there are many ways to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Some of the best ways to limit the risk of prostate cancer include:
- Eat healthy. A diet that includes low-fat foods like lean meats and reduced-fat dairy products can help an individual simultaneously keep the heart healthy, lose weight and ward off prostate cancer.
- Exercise regularly. Studies have shown there is a direct correlation between exercise and prostate cancer. If a person exercises for at least 30 minutes a day, this individual may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, heart disease and other health problems.
- Avoid smoking. Research indicates smokers may be more susceptible than others to an aggressive form of prostate cancer, and prostate cancer patients who smoke are more likely than others to have a recurrence of the condition. Fortunately, individuals who avoid smoking can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Don’t forget to consult with a doctor to learn about prostate cancer. A doctor can perform an in-depth prostate cancer test, as well as provide recommendations to help patients prevent prostate cancer. Best of all, a doctor can deliver personalized prostate cancer treatments.
How to Treat Prostate Cancer
There are many prostate cancer treatments, and these include:
- Active Surveillance: Usually involves a PSA test and DRE about every six months and annual prostate biopsies.
- Radiation Therapy: Consists of external beam radiation or brachytherapy (internal radiation). Radiation therapy may be used in cases of low-grade prostate cancer or as part of an initial treatment for cancers that have developed outside the prostate and affect nearby tissues.
- Cryotherapy (Cryosurgery): Requires cold temperatures to freeze and destroy prostate cancer cells. Cryotherapy may be used to treat early-stage prostate cancer; or, it may be used if prostate cancer returns following radiation therapy.
- Hormone Therapy: Reduces the level of male hormones in the body or ensures they remain unaffected by prostate cancer cells. Hormone therapy is also referred to as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or androgen suppression therapy.
- Chemotherapy: Involves the use of anti-cancer drugs that are injected into a vein or given by mouth. Chemotherapy may prove to be a viable treatment for cancer that has spread to distant organs.
In order to find the right prostate cancer treatment, an individual first requires a prostate cancer screening and diagnosis. If an individual is diagnosed with prostate cancer, this patient then can work with a doctor to determine the best course of action.
Contact La Peer Health Systems for a Prostate Cancer Screening Today
La Peer Health Systems provides prostate cancer testing to help patients stay ahead of prostate cancer and identify this problem in its early stages. To schedule a prostate cancer test with La Peer Health Systems, please contact us today at 855.360.9119.