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How Do You Check Prostate

Prostate Specific Antigen Test

How to Test for Prostate Cancer | Ask a Prostate Expert, Mark Scholz, MD

A blood test called a prostate specific antigen test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.

As a rule, the higher the PSA level in the blood, the more likely a prostate problem is present. But many factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Some prostate glands make more PSA than others.

PSA levels also can be affected by

  • Certain medical procedures.

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How Do I Prepare For A Prostate Ultrasound

You dont need to do much to prepare for a prostate ultrasound. Its an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than an hour. Your doctor may refer you to a hospital or clinic that has the proper ultrasound equipment for this test. You may also need to sign a consent form before the test.

Some possible instructions that your doctor might give you before the test include:

  • Dont eat for a few hours before the test.
  • Take a laxative or enema to help clear out your intestines a few hours before the test.
  • Stop taking any medications that can thin your blood, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin, about a week before the procedure. This is usually recommended if your doctor plans to take a biopsy of your prostate.
  • Dont wear any jewelry or tight clothes to the clinic on the day of the procedure.
  • Take any medications recommended to help you relax during the procedure. Your doctor may recommend a sedative, such as lorazepam .
  • Make sure someones available to take you home in case your doctor gives you a sedative.

Getting The Results Of The Biopsy

Your biopsy samples will be sent to a lab, where they will be looked at with a microscope to see if they contain cancer cells. Getting the results usually takes at least 1 to 3 days, but it can sometimes take longer. The results might be reported as:

  • Positive for cancer: Cancer cells were seen in the biopsy samples.
  • Negative for cancer: No cancer cells were seen in the biopsy samples.
  • Suspicious: Something abnormal was seen, but it might not be cancer.

If the biopsy is negative

If the prostate biopsy results are negative , and the chance that you have prostate cancer isnt very high based on your PSA level and other tests, you might not need any more tests, other than repeat PSA tests sometime later.

But even if many samples are taken, biopsies can still sometimes miss a cancer if none of the biopsy needles pass through it. This is known as a false-negative result. If your doctor still strongly suspects you have prostate cancer , your doctor might suggest:

  • Getting other lab tests to help get a better idea of whether or not you might have prostate cancer. Examples of such tests include the Prostate Health Index , 4Kscore test, PCA3 tests , and ConfirmMDx. These tests are discussed in Whats New in Prostate Cancer Research?
  • Getting a repeat prostate biopsy. This might include getting additional samples of parts of the prostate not biopsied the first time, or using imaging tests such as MRI to look more closely for abnormal areas to target.

Prostate cancer grade

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What Is A Prostate Exam

A prostate exam is a screening method used to look for early signs of prostate cancer. In general, a prostate exam includes a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam .

During the digital rectal exam portion, your healthcare provider carefully inserts their gloved finger into your rectum. This allows them to feel the edges and surface of your prostate gland to detect any potential abnormalities.

Should I Have A Psa Test

How to Check Your Prostate: When to Begin &  What to Expect

If you have no symptoms of prostate cancer and are thinking about having a PSA test, you should ask your doctor about the risks and benefits.

While some studies suggest PSA reduces mortality on a population basis, the test picks up large numbers of cancers that would have caused no symptoms or harm in the patient. This is known as overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis of prostate cancer can lead to unnecessary treatments that have side effects such as sexual impotence, urinary incontinence and bowel problems.

It is important to balance the potential benefit of detecting a prostate cancer early against the risk that detection and treatment may not be necessary. Treatment may affect your lifestyle but it may also save your life.

Make your own decision about whether to be tested after a discussion with your doctor. Ensure you get good quality information to make an informed decision.

Screening tests for breast, bowel and cervical cancer can save lives, but there is still confusion around PSA testing for prostate cancer. Find more information here.

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.

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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.
  • Remedies For An Enlarged Prostate

    Even if you have an enlarged prostate, that does not mean you must live with the symptoms for the rest of your life. Your doctor might advise one of several approaches to coping with BPH, including lifestyle changes, medication changes, and other treatments. The remedies and treatments available will depend on your own health situation and how disruptive the symptoms have become.

    Get Sufficient Exercise

    Exercise can improve with your overall fitness, as well as benefit your prostate health. Studies have shown a connection between increased physical activity and reduced risk of BPH, with exercise of any type having some degree of benefit.

    Seated activities, such cycling, can put pressure on the perineum and groin. This can lead to numbness or pinched nerves. To avoid these issues, make sure you utilize a wide seat and engage in a variety of activity types.

    You can also try Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles and reduce urine dribbling. To do these exercises, squeeze the muscles that affect urine flow and then release, repeating several times to train the muscles.

    Slow Down

    When you head to the bathroom, make sure you slow down. When you relax your muscles and leave time to account for delayed urine and possible dribbling, youre much more likely to completely empty your bladder. Urine that remains in the bladder because of an enlarged prostate can lead to urinary tract infections or painful bladder stones.

    Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption

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    What The Prostate Gland Does

    Deep within your groin area, a gland the size of a pingpong ball rests just below your bladder. In fact, your urethra, the small tube that carries urine from your bladder through and out of your penis, runs through the middle of your prostate gland.

    If your prostate changes shape or size, it squeezes the urethra and hinders the flow of urine. Here are some of the other signs you might notice if your prostate becomes enlarged, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia .

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    How Do Men Feel About The Rectal Exam

    Tests to Diagnose and Monitor Prostate Cancer

    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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    Experts In Urology Care

    If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with urinary issues, we urge you to complete our urologic cancer risk assessment form.

    Not everyone should get a PSA test. Why? Because many men in this country are treated for low-risk prostate cancer that is discovered through the PSA test, even when it is unlikely that the disease will ever cause symptoms or lead to death. And treatment is associated with significant side effects, including impotence and incontinence . So a PSA test is recommended only for men who might be at greater risk for dying of prostate cancer for example, younger men with a family history of prostate cancer or African-American men.

    To avoid the risks of over-treatment, Roswell Park follows the guidelines established by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network . The NCCN brings together world-renowned experts from 30 of the nations top cancer centers to write guidelines that specify the best ways of preventing, detecting and treating cancer. The guidelines are updated at least every year, on the basis of the latest research.

    Michael Kuettel, MD, PhD, MBA, Chair of Roswell Park’s Department of Radiation Medicine, serves on the NCCN Prostate Cancer Panel.

    The NCCN recommends that only men in these categories receive a PSA test for early detection of prostate cancer:

    Do All Men Who Are Treated For Prostate Cancer Lose Sexual And Urinary Function

    Its definitely not true that all men are incontinent and impotent after treatment for prostate cancer. Urinary incontinence is usually temporary.

    There can be a sexual impact for guys who have normal function. If the cancer is near their nerve bundle, theyre going to have a decrease in sexual function. If its not, and we can do bilateral nerve sparing surgery, studies show 70 percent can get back their normal sexual function. It all depends on where the cancer is. But the truth is that we cant predict very well who will be the 30 percent who will haveor still haveED some already do have ED because of age, diabetes, hypertension or renal failure.

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    Are You Seeing Prostate Cancer Becoming More Prevalent In Younger Patients

    Its pretty rare. Its less common that men in their 40s have prostate cancer, but, we also are very rarely screening them. The young men who come in to be screened tend to have one of those high-risk features. They most likely had a father who had prostate cancer, so theyre nervous about it. Or theyre African-American, and theyve been flagged by their health care providers.

    If youre young, your quality of life is even more important to you right now. We know that, if diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer, a person will need treatment at some time in life. If we can delay treatmentwhich could negatively impact urinary or sexual functionby several years, then we should do that and obviously discuss that there is a low but possible chance of metastasis developing during that time.

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    What Do You Want Men To Know About Prostate Cancer

    How to Check Your Prostate

    The important thing to know is that, if you live long enough, you will probably get prostate cancer. If you live into your 80s, about 80 percent of men have some sort of prostate cancer. That doesnt mean theyre going to die from prostate cancer because, as a percentage, very few men die from prostate cancer. It means its important to be aware of it and consider screening early, so if its a high-grade type, we can identify it and treat it.

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    Prostate Cancer Screening Ages 55 To 69

    This is the age range where men will benefit the most from screening.Thats because this is the time when:

    • Men are most likely to get cancer
    • Treatment makes the most sense, meaning when treatment benefits outweigh any potential risk of treatment side effects

    Most men will get prostate cancer if they live long enough. Some prostatecancers are more aggressive others can be slow-growing. Doctors will takeyour age and other factors into consideration before weighing the risks andbenefits of treatment.

    You should ask your doctor how often he or she recommends you get screened.For most men, every two to three years is enough.

    Depending on the results of your first PSA test, your doctor may recommendyou get screened less frequently.

    Can A Swollen Prostate If Untreated Cause Prostate Cancer

    We have no evidence of that. Theyre completely unrelated problems. The area of the prostate that causes urinary symptoms is usually a different part of the prostate than where cancer is likeliest to develop.

    Doctors divide the prostate into different zones. The zone that is associated with BPHand the majority of prostate growthis the transition zone. Prostate cancer occurs there much less often than in the peripheral zone, which is the outer area.

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    Signs And Symptoms Of An Enlarged Prostate

    An enlarged prostate presses, pinches or causes a blockage in the urethra. The urethra carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. The direct effects of an enlarged prostate are manifested by difficulty in the discharge of urine. These difficulties could be in the form of:

    1. Frequent and sudden urges to discharge urine

    2. Difficulty starting a urine stream

    3. Weak urine stream and

    4. Dribbling urine.

    If left untreated, the effects of an enlarged prostate can cause the following complications:

    1. Acute Urine retention. This is a complete inability to pass urine. Medical attention must be sought immediately if this occurs

    2. Urinary tract infections

    If They Don’t Think You Need Any Tests Or A Referral

    Enlarged Prostate – What You Need To Know
    • Can you explain why I dont need to have tests or see a specialist?
    • Is there anything I can do to help myself?
    • Do I need to see you again?
    • Who do I contact if my symptoms continue or get worse, especially during the night or at weekends?
    • I’ve been reading about prostate cancer and wish to have a PSA test can you explain why I dont need one?

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      What Are We Looking For

      Many men experience issues with their prostate gland as they age. The symptoms for benign prostate enlargement and prostate cancer are very similar most men present first with urinary issues. When your prostate has simply enlarged the surface is usually smooth. We begin to suspect prostate cancer when the surface is hard and lumpy. Its a key difference and the best way to find out is via a rectal exam.

      Who Should Get A Digital Rectal Exam

      Not all medical institutions agree on when men should begin screening for prostate cancer or even if a DRE should be part of the screening.

      To help detect prostate cancer in its early stages, the American Cancer Society recommends that men talk to their doctors about the benefits, risks, and limitations of prostate cancer screening before deciding whether to be tested.

      For most men at average risk, discussions about screening begin at age 50. However, some doctors recommend that men at higher risk of prostate cancer — African-American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer — start screening earlier.

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      Why Is Active Surveillancethe Wait

      We utilize active surveillance for men who have been diagnosed with a low-grade prostate cancer. The reason we monitor low-grade prostate cancer using active surveillance, rather than treating it aggressively, is that there are cancers that dont need treatment.

      With low-grade prostate cancer, youre more likely to have problems from the treatment than from the prostate cancer. Any treatment we do for prostate cancer is going to affect a mans urinary and sexual function. It may affect it a little bitor a lot. With this type of prostate cancer, we can tell you now that theres very little likelihood the cancer is going to cause you any problems. We have a good and growing amount of evidence that low-grade prostate cancers, on average, progress very slowly and do not appear to spread to the lymph nodes. Active surveillance lets us detect higher grade disease and treat it at that point.

      For us to do anything and treat it is going to change your quality of life. I think thats a powerful thing.

      Self Prostate Exam For Prostatic Hyperplasia

      How to Check Your Prostate

      Clinically we divided prostatic hyperplasia into three gradients, indicating the severity of benign prostatic hyperplasia disease. So, in our daily lives, how to perform self prostate exam? What are the evaluation criteria?

      According to the severity of the disease, each disease can be divided into mild, moderate and severe, benign prostatic hyperplasia is with no exception. So what are the typical symptoms for mild, moderate and severe prostatic hyperplasia? How can we male patients to perform self prostate exam?

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