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How Do I Check My Prostate

When Should I Get Tested

What it’s like to go for a rectal screening for prostate cancer

Visit Am I at Risk? to learn more. All men are at risk of prostate cancer, so it is important to talk with your doctor to make an informed decision. Check out our recommended age and testing guidelines, which are based on the NCCN provided recommendations.

Detecting prostate cancer early gives you the best chance of living longer. In fact, more than 99 percent of men survive prostate cancer when it is caught early.

Watch prostate cancer experts, Dr. Lowentritt and Dr. Siegel in this video discuss detection and diagnosis:

Identifying Potential Prostate Problems

  • 1Watch for urination-related symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Many men, especially age 50 and older, experience an enlarged prostate . In most cases, its not caused by cancer, and many men have no symptoms. If you do experience symptoms like the following, however, contact your primary care doctor:XResearch source
  • Weak flow during urination.
  • What Happens During A Digital Rectal Exam

    Your health care provider will insert a gloved finger into the rectum and feel the prostate for hard, lumpy, or abnormal areas. The test takes only a few minutes to complete.

    You may feel slight, momentary discomfort during the test. The procedure does not cause significant pain or any damage to the prostate.

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    Both Tests Are Better Than One

    Using these tests together is better than using either test alone. PSA testing together with a DRE may help find a dangerous cancer early when it is easier to treat.

    Follow-up tests

    If a problem is found, more tests will be done to find out whether you have prostate cancer or another health problem. Further tests can include:

    • a follow-up PSA test
    • a transrectal ultrasound a test that uses sound waves to make a picture of the rectum and nearby organs, including the prostate
    • a biopsy of the prostate tissue samples of the prostate are looked at under a microscope

    What Is A Prostate Ultrasound Used For

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    A prostate ultrasound is used to check your prostate gland using ultrasound imagery. The procedure provides your doctor with black-and-white images of your prostate and the surrounding tissues. Your doctor usually wont do this as part of a physical examination, but they may recommend it if:

    A prostate ultrasound can also be used to help your doctor take a tissue sample, or biopsy, from your prostate.

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    How Should I Prepare For The Exam

    Your blood must be sent to a laboratory for analysis, so your PSA results wont be available immediately. Your doctor will let you know when they have the results.

    The lab report will show the level of PSA in your blood as:

    In addition to looking at the amount of PSA in your blood, your doctor will assess how quickly this number is changing. Many things can affect PSA, so test results require careful analysis by an expert. Your doctor will take all of your health information into account.

    If you have an abnormal PSA test result, it doesnt mean you have prostate cancer. Most men with a high PSA level dont have prostate cancer. About of men who have a biopsy due to a high PSA level have prostate cancer.

    Its also possible for men with prostate cancer to have normal DRE and PSA test results.

    Treating Benign Prostate Enlargement

    Treatment for an enlarged prostate is determined by the severity of your symptoms.

    If you have mild to moderate symptoms, you wonât receive any immediate medical treatment, but youâll have regular check-ups to carefully monitor your prostate.

    Youâll probably also be advised to make lifestyle changes, such as limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake, and exercising regularly, to see if they improve your symptoms.

    As well as lifestyle changes, medication is usually recommended to treat moderate to severe symptoms of benign prostate enlargement. Finasteride and dutasteride are medications that are commonly used. They block the effects of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone on the prostate gland, which can reduce the size of the prostate and improve associated symptoms.

    Alpha blockers may also be prescribed. They help to relax your bladder muscles, making it easier to pass urine. Tamsulosin and alfuzosin are two alpha blockers commonly used to treat benign prostate enlargement.

    Surgery is usually only recommended for moderate to severe symptoms of benign prostate enlargement that have failed to respond to medication.

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    The Test Is Often Not Needed

    Most men with high PSAs dont have prostate cancer. Their high PSAs might be due to:

    • An enlarged prostate gland.
    • Recent sexual activity.
    • A recent, long bike ride.

    Up to 25% of men with high PSAs may have prostate cancer, depending on age and PSA level. But most of these cancers do not cause problems. It is common for older men to have some cancer cells in their prostate glands. These cancers are usually slow to grow. They are not likely to spread beyond the prostate. They usually dont cause symptoms, or death.

    Studies show that routine PSA tests of 1,000 men ages 55 to 69 prevent one prostate cancer death. But the PSA also has risks.

    Use In Men Already Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer

    How to detect prostate problems?

    The PSA test can also be useful if you have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

    • In men just diagnosed with prostate cancer, the PSA level can be used together with physical exam results and tumor grade to help decide if other tests are needed.
    • The PSA level is used to help determine the stage of your cancer. This can affect your treatment options, since some treatments are not likely to be helpful if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
    • PSA tests are often an important part of determining how well treatment is working, as well as in watching for a possible recurrence of the cancer after treatment .

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    When To Get Your Prostate Checked: Warning Signs And Advice

    A healthy prostate plays a vital role in male fertility, producing fluid that helps keep sperm alive. But as you get older, particularly after the age of 40, you may find that your prostate starts to cause you problems. One reason for this is that the prostate continues to grow as you age. This is a normal process but for many men, an enlarged prostate can cause symptoms that affect their quality of life. This isnt the only problem that affects the prostate, there are several other prostate issues, which can produce similar symptoms to each other. A prostate exam can help you find out whats going on with your prostate so your doctor can then help you get relief from any symptoms you may be experiencing.

    Examination Of Your Prostate Gland

    When your doctor examines you, it might include feeling your prostate gland. To do this your doctor puts a gloved finger into your back passage to check for abnormal signs. They feel for any lumps or your prostate feeling larger than it should for your age. Doctors call this a digital rectal examination .

    It’s normal to feel anxious about this test and it might be uncomfortable. But it usually only lasts a few minutes.

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    Can I Check For Prostate Cancer At Home

    It is strongly advised under any circumstances not to self-examine for prostate cancer at home either by yourself or with a partner. Not only does it take a skilled professional to assess how the prostate feels to make an accurate determination of overall prostate health, self-examinations have the potential to cause injury.

    âSince the prostate is an internal gland, itâs extremely important that only licensed medical professionals conduct the exam. At-home self-exams should not be administered in order to avoid injury or self-harm. Regular screening is important for prostate cancer, as the disease often does not present symptoms until it is too late. Talk to your doctor about making sure you receive a regular DRE check-up at each visit.â

    While actually screening yourself for prostate cancer at home is ill advised, you can still monitor your risk factors for prostate cancer between yearly check-ups, like practicing a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

    Using Medication To Reduce Symptoms

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  • 1Recognize the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Look for a weak stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, or an increased need to urinate at night. You may also have difficulty starting urination or need to strain to empty your bladder. If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor for an official diagnosis.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the worldâs leading hospitalsGo to source
  • 2Try alpha-blockers if you have trouble urinating. Talk to your doctor about alpha-blockers, which can relax muscles around the bladder and prostate. These drugs help increase the flow of urine when you use the bathroom and keep you from needing to urinate too frequently.XResearch source
  • While adverse side effects are infrequent, alpha-blockers can cause dizziness. The good news is, they typically help relieve symptoms within a few weeks.
  • Take alpha-blockers, like tamsulosin, as directed by your doctor.
  • Most alpha-blockers are safe to take with other medications. Consult your pharmacist for any potential drug interactions with your current medication regimen.
  • 3Explore enzyme-inhibitors if you have a very enlarged prostate. Ask your doctor if enzyme-inhibitors, like finasteride and dutasteride, would be a good fit for your symptoms. These drugs shrink prostate tissue to reduce urinary problems and are often most effective on severely enlarged prostates.XResearch source
  • Like alpha-blockers, dizziness is the most common side effect.
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    Whats The Best Treatment For Prostate Symptoms

    Treatments for prostate cancer include surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, and ablation therapies, as well as active surveillance. Some treatments are better for some men and some prostates than others. There are side effects for each, so it really requires an informed discussion to help each man make an educated decision.

    One thing we do at Yale is use an MRI of the prostate to evaluate the location of the prostate cancer for surgical planning. Ive found it to be quite helpful. Its not done everywhere.

    What Is The Easiest Way To Find The Prostate

    Finding the prostate gland shouldnt be difficult if you know where it is. The gland is adjacent to the rectum with no space in between.

    That is why the digital rectal examination is one of the screening methods for prostate cancer. Doctors need some practice before locating the prostate gland, but it is not hard.

    Heres what you can do :

    • Insert your finger and search through.
    • Push gently to the front with your fingertips. Do this alone so you can concentrate and take your time.
    • Try to feel a different sensation using your fingertips. They are more sensitive than the rest of the finger.

    Finding the prostate will be easier if you try a few positions :

    • Fetal position: It is an excellent way to start, and the one recommended by doctors is to perform a rectal exam. Lay on your side and curl your body with your legs drawn up.
    • Doggy position: It is a suitable option for couples if you want your partner to give you a prostate massage.

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    How Do I Find My Prostate From The Outside

    If youre not comfortable with the idea of sticking your fingers to your bottom, dont worry. You can also do it from the outside. This is what you should do:

    • Even if you dont feel the gland, you may experience a voiding sensation if your bladder is full.
    • Some practitioners may also rub the area above the pubic bone to perform a prostate massage from the outside. However, this method is more indirect and may cause intense voiding urgency.

    Mens Cancer Prevention & Care At Southwest General

    What to Do and Not Do with Enlarged Prostate | Lifestyle Modifications

    Men should see their doctor regularly for recommended health screenings and testing. Our Southwest General Medical Group offers primary care and specialty care to help men protect and monitor their health. To learn more about our cancer care services or to schedule an appointment, visit our website.

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    How Do Men Feel About The Rectal Exam

    I think most men are willing to do it, but some men are exceptionally opposed to it. They might be happy to hear that there are studies ongoing in the United Kingdom looking at using magnetic resonance imaging as a screening tool to be able to avoid doing a digital rectal exam in the future. There is a large African immigrant population in London with a higher incidence of prostate cancerthey didnt want to have the prostate exam because they had a lot of opposition to it. They were uncomfortable with it.

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    Touching Your Prostate With Your Finger

  • 1See a trained professional if you want your prostate medically examined. Medical professionals do not recommend prostate self-exams. An “untrained finger” is unlikely to accurately recognize signs of problems, and there is a small but not inconsequential risk of damage to the rectum or prostate.XResearch source
  • Talk to your primary care doctor to determine if you should have a DRE to check your prostate.
  • Check your prostate if youre older than 40, have a high risk for prostate cancer, or if you have symptoms of an enlarged or infected prostates.
  • If you want to access your prostate for sexual pleasure, take all the precautions described in this article and work very slowly and gently.
  • 2Take a shower and clean “between the cheeks” thoroughly. Use soap, water, and a soft washcloth to clean the area as best you can, then rinse it out thoroughly with clean water from the shower. The cleaner you feel “up there,” the less self-conscious you’re likely to be when the time comes to insert your finger.
  • Dont use a rough washcloth or brush, scrub too vigorously, or try to clean deep into your rectum. You may damage the sensitive tissue in the area. Just accept that its not possible to get this area 100% clean.
  • Even when youre accessing your own rectum, its best to play it safe and wear a glove.
  • If you wear a ring on the index finger youll be using, remove it.
  • Your entire index finger should be fully coated from the tip down to at least the middle knuckle.
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    When Should I Go Back

    The answer to how often you should get a prostate exam depends on your medical history, but if youve got the all-clear, when you return depends on your age. The recommendations are as follows:

    Age 50 59:

    • If your PSA was between 1 and 3ng/mL: return every 2 to 4 years
    • If your PSA was under 1ng/mL: return aged 60

    Age 60 70:

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    Weighing Your Options For Treatment

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    If you test positive for prostate cancer, you have some options as to what youd like to do about it. Until recently, nearly everyone opted for surgery or radiation, while some patients choose not to undergo treatment, instead opting for active surveillance, during which the cancers are left alone but regularly monitored to be certain that theyre not growing.

    Certainly, screening can lead to earlier prostate cancer detection, and with earlier detection, youre eligible for multiple different treatments or active surveillance, said Sia Daneshmand, MD, director of urologic oncology at USC Urology of Keck Medicine of USC and associate professor of urology at Keck School of Medicine of USC. So we encourage patients who are candidates for screening to discuss it with their urologist and/or primary care physician so that we can determine whats the best course of treatment for them.

    There also is a new option for those seeking prostate cancer treatment. Its called High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound , which uses ultrasound beams to non-surgically destroy prostate tumors.

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    What Happens After The Dre

    If any abnormalities are found during the DRE, the doctor may order more tests and possibly schedule a prostate biopsy to see if there are any signs of cancer present.

    If there are no signs of prostate cancer found during screening, the results of the PSA blood test may help to determine the time between future prostate cancer screenings. PSA levels vary by age and other factors.

    Ultimately, you and your doctor will decide how often you should be screened since your diet, health and lifestyle habits are all factors on the timing and frequency of your prostate cancer screenings. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you notice any changes in your health.

    How Accurate Is A Prostate Ultrasound

    A prostate ultrasound is more accurate than an X-ray. This is because your technician can see the images as the transducer moves through your rectum rather than having to take a snapshot and develop the images. Ultrasound tests are also safer than X-rays because they dont produce any dangerous radiation.

    A prostate ultrasound is also faster than a computed tomography test, which provides 3-D images of your prostate and the areas around it. CT scans require more preparation and time for testing, and they dont provide real-time images.

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    How Do I Know If My Prostate Is Enlarged

    If your prostate is enlarged, it may not be a sign of cancer, but it is something that you should discuss with your doctor. Many of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate tend to relate to urination. If you are concerned about an enlarged prostate, here are 7 symptoms to look for:

  • Difficulty starting urination. The enlarged prostate alters the pressure of your bladder to pass urine. This can have damaging effects on your kidneys.
  • Weak urine stream. As the urethra becomes constrained, urine passes at a much slower rate.
  • Urgent need to urinate. You may go from not needing to urinate to suddenly needing to go because of how the bladder gets constrained.
  • Issues with sleeping. Pressure from the enlarged prostate can interfere with nerve signaling in the middle of the night. This leads to you thinking you have to urinate when you dont.
  • Feeling unable to completely empty your bladder. You may not be able to completely empty your bladder, which can lead to Urinary Tract Infections and stone issues.
  • Urinary tract infection. A UTI is caused by the urine that sits in your bladder which you cant fully empty, creating an environment for bacteria to thrive.
  • Bladder stones. The leftover urine in your bladder can also crystallize to create bladder stones.
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