Every June, healthcare professionals and their community observe Men’s Health Month. During this time, organizations host screenings, health fairs, and educational outreach programs to raise awareness about preventable health problems in men. The goal is to encourage screenings for early detection and proper treatment for men’s cancers and other diseases. This month, we encourage the CCCN family to learn about prostate cancer and how a prostate cancer screening can be beneficial to you and the other men in your life.
Recently a federal panel reversed its opposition to routine screenings. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in a draft recommendation stated the screenings should be discussed with your doctor and decision to have one should be a personal one.
Raising Prostate Cancer Awareness
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males. It occurs when the cells in the prostate gland begin to grow uncontrollably. Found only in males, the prostate gland makes some of the fluid that is found in semen. This gland is located below the bladder in front of the rectum.
As with many other cancers, prostate cancer has risk factors that doctors look out for in their patients, including:
- Age: The risk for developing prostate cancer rises for men over the age of 50
- Ethnicity: Prostate cancer is more common in African American men than other races.
- Family history: Prostate cancer can run in families via an inherited genetic mutation.
Get a Prostate Cancer Screening during Men’s Health Month
Cancer screenings and early detection are essential to helping develop a more successful treatment plan after a diagnosis. If cancer is left undetected, it could spread to other areas of the body and become more difficult to treat.
Prostate cancer screenings allow doctors to look for and discover cancer before any signs or symptoms are present in the patient. Like other screenings, the goal of prostate cancer screenings is to reduce the amount of people who die from it and also reduce the amount of people who develop it in the first place.
This June for Men’s Health Month, learn more about prostate cancer screenings, and ask your medical professional if you’re due for an exam.
Types of prostate cancer screenings
There are two main types of prostate cancer screening:
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): During this screening test, the doctor will insert his or her gloved and lubricated finger into the patient’s rectum. Then, the doctor will feel the prostate and notate anything irregular.
PSA Blood Test: The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test can help a doctor detect early-stage prostate cancer. In turn, man can start a proper treatment plan before cancer spreads to other areas of his body. However, there are both benefits and risks to this type of screening test. So, discuss with doctor which type of screening would be more beneficial to you. Often, the type of screening your doctor recommends will depend on your risk factors.
When should I get a prostate cancer screening?
The prostate screening age depends on a patient’s risk factor for developing cancer. When you visit your general practitioner, discuss any possible family history of prostate cancer and other lifestyle habits that may affect your chances of developing this disease.
Here is a general rule of thumb for which age men should start pursuing a prostate cancer screening:
- 50 years old: Men with an average risk of developing prostate cancer
- 45 years old: Men with high risk, meaning African-American men and men with a first-degree relative (father, brother, son) who was diagnosed younger than age 65.
- 40 years old: Men with more than one relative who was diagnosed at an early age.
Men’s Health at CCCN
At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, we are dedicated to teaching our patients and their loved ones about cancer prevention and care. We are a multi-specialty practice, offering treatments for various cancers, blood disorders, breast health conditions, lung disease and sleep disorders. Visit our website to learn more about men’s health, or call us at 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment.