Why Should I Get Both Prostate Cancer Screenings
Both screenings provide valuable information about your health that can detect prostate cancer, even at an early stage. One result without the other may not provide enough indication of whether or not treatment is necessary.
There are many reasons why a mans prostate may be enlarged, and prostate cancer is only one. When paired with a PSA blood test, results can better indicate whether further testing is needed to determine a diagnosis.
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What Do My Psa Test Results Mean
Once your test results are back, your healthcare provider will let you know if any additional testing is recommended. PSA levels can vary over time for several reasons unrelated to prostate cancer . So, if you have a borderline PSA, your provider may simply recommend another PSA test in six months or so.
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Dr. Matthew Rettig, the medical director of the Prostate Cancer Program at the Institute of Urologic Oncology at UCLA in California, said that even if screenings arenât performed right away, men should at least start talking about them with their doctors early in life.
âI think I would have that conversation fairly early on in life, maybe even in 30s or 40s, about when to initiate screening,â said Retting. âI think that would be most important for patients who are at high risk for prostate cancer and high risk for early onset of prostate cancer. Those are the types of patients that probably ought to have the discussion and make a decision about when to start screening at a relatively young age.â
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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.
When To Get A Prostate Cancer Screening
A prostate screening can help your doctor find prostate cancer early, but youll need to decide if the benefits of the exam outweigh the risks. Have a discussion with your doctor about prostate cancer screenings.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that men ages 55 to 69 decide for themselves whether to undergo a prostate-specific antigen screening test, after talking it over with their doctor.
They recommend against screening for men at or above the age of 70.
The American Cancer Society strongly recommends that no one be screened without discussion of the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening.
They give these specific recommendations for the date at which these discussions with a healthcare provider should take place:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age .
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk .
You should also speak with your doctor about a prostate exam if youre experiencing symptoms of a prostate problem, such as frequent or painful urination or blood in your urine.
After this discussion, if you decide to get a prostate cancer screening, the ACS and the American Urologic Association recommend getting a prostate-specific antigen blood test.
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Another Option: Digital Rectal Exams
Most prostate biopsies are driven by PSA results. Urologists also use the digital rectal exam, or DRE.
The American Urological Association hasnt recommended rectal exams because there has yet to be a randomized trial in which some men get the rectal exam and some dont. Based on who lives and dies, this would show if rectal exams have value, says Dr. Freedland. Many people, myself included, think they do have value. Its part of the evaluation that we use even if its not officially in our guidelines.
The DRE may cause momentary discomfort, but it can also detect prostate cancer for those patients with normal PSA levels. We use the exam because we think it should work and be helpful, even if it hasnt been studied, Dr. Freedland adds. Most people are screened with PSA and DRE.
The Cost Of Prostate Exams
Typically, prostate exams are considered a basic health screening test and tend to not be a large expense. However, your insurance status can greatly influence how much you end up paying for this procedure. To outline your possible expenses, the price ranges of prostate exams for both insured and uninsured are discussed below.
Depending on your insurance plan, a prostate exam can cost anywhere from $0-30. This cost usually consists of the co-pay for a doctorâs visit and laboratory costs. Some private insurance plans can fully cover all health screenings after you reach a certain age. Make sure you check with your insurance provider before receiving a prostate exam to avoid any surprise costs.
If you are covered by Medicare, Medicare Part B will cover your PSA laboratory test and your DRE. Under Medicare, you will have to meet your deductible and then pay 20% of the original costs. For 2022, the deductible is $233.
If you are uninsured, the price range for prostate exams can range from $25-$300 depending on the clinic you go to. Additionally, your costs might be even greater if your provider decides that you are at risk for prostate cancer and require that you receive a prostate biopsy. These procedures are more invasive and can cost up to $6,000 per procedure.
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Is Going To The Bathroom Frequently A Sign Of Prostate Cancer
Thats one of the challenging things having urinary symptoms is very rarelyalmost nevera sign of prostate cancer. Having urinary symptoms means you should probably be evaluated for an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia . We can treat your urinary symptoms and help you pee better.
If urinary symptoms bring men to the doctor, we can discuss screening for prostate cancer. Thats important because not all men will go to a doctor until theres something wrong with them. And prostate cancer screening really is the only way to detect prostate cancer, because its almost always asymptomatic.
Research Into Prostate Cancer Screening
Many prostate cancers grow very slowly and dont cause men any problems in their lifetime. Overall, evidence from trials of prostate screening has shown that prostate cancer screening does not reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer.
The Cancer Research UK CAP trial looked at whether a single PSA blood test would reduce the number of men dying of prostate cancer. This was a large UK study with over 400,000 men between the ages of 50 and 69 taking part. Around half the men were offered a PSA blood test the other half weren’t.
The results in early 2018 showed that the number of men dying from prostate cancer was the same in both groups. This was after 10 years of follow up. The researchers say that this trial doesnt support PSA testing as a screening test for prostate cancer. They say we need more research to find a better screening test.
This supports what the 2013 Cochrane review found. This looked at screening research from a number of trials and concluded that prostate cancer screening did not reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer.
Research looking at doing more than one test doesnt show that this would help either. Increasing the number of tests could increase the level of harms such as diagnosing those cancers that wouldnt cause any harm . Many men have side effects from treatment and the risks of routine PSA screening outweigh the benefits.
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Should I Have A Prostate Cancer Screening Test
Routine testing for prostate cancer in all men without symptoms is not recommended in New Zealand at present. Being tested for prostate cancer is your choice. Learning about the pros and cons of prostate testing can help you decide if it is right for you.
To help you decide if a prostate check is right for you, the Ministry of Health has developed the Kupe website. It will help you understand the risks, benefits and implications of prostate testing, so you can have an informed conversation with your doctor.
If you are unsure about whether you need to get tested for prostate cancer, contact your GP for a discussion on the risks and benefits of testing.
Should I Poop Before A Prostate Exam
You dont need to change any bathroom habits prior to your appointment. If you feel like you need to poop before your exam, then its fine to do so. But dont worry if you just dont have the urge. The prostate exam shouldnt make you feel like you need to go.
Theres no need to be embarrassed about fecal matter during your prostate exam. Your healthcare provider is experienced in performing this exam and will do everything to ensure your comfort during the process.
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Weighing Your Options For Treatment
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.
What Is The Prostates Function
The prostate is a gland which produces some of the semens ingredients. About the size of an apricot, the gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The fluid that the prostate gland secretes keeps sperm alive. It also keeps the genetic code of sperm protected as they travel from the testes and through the urethra.
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How Do Prostate Exams Feel
Although prostate exams are not painful, you might experience some slight discomfort. There will be some pressure in the area and might make you feel like you have to urinate. If you do experience any pain, make sure to tell your physician as this is not normal. Make sure to keep in mind that your doctor is a professional and has likely performed this exam numerous times before. Additionally, these exams are very short and will only take 1-2 minutes.
What Are The Risks Of A Prostate Exam
In the medical community, there is some controversy regarding the risks and benefits of a prostate exam. When a DRE is performed and irregularity is detected, 50% of the time there is prostate cancer and 50% of the time there isnt. The risk, then, becomes over-treatment.
Although not a physical health risk, the possibility of further testing, such as a prostate biopsy or an MRI of the prostate, can be anxiety-provoking.
Overall, the benefits highly outweigh the risks. Patients should discuss the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening with their physician to make the best decision for their health.
As men age, they can face physical, sexual and medical health concerns that have an impact on their everyday lives. Making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, along with regular checkups and screening tests can help prevent or lead to early treatment of many men’s health threats.
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What To Expect During A Prostate Exam
The prostate exam, or digital rectal exam , along with prostate-specific antigen testing, is sometimes part of the prostate cancer screening process. Recent research suggests that the DRE may be ineffective in prostate cancer screening. Current screening recommendations vary depending on age and other factors. Men aged 5569 should talk with their healthcare providers regarding their risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening. African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer may need early screening.
What Do You Want Men To Know About Prostate Cancer
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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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.
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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Prostate Exam Vs Colonoscopy: Whats The Difference
At first glance, it might seem that a prostate exam is similar to a colonoscopy. After all, both exams involve your rectal area. However, these two tests are quite different.
While a prostate exam involves feeling the prostate with a gloved finger, a colonoscopy examines the walls of your colon by inserting a flexible camera into your rectum. The prostate is not examined at all during this procedure unless your healthcare provider manually performs an exam.
A prostate exam is a fairly quick procedure performed in an office setting. A colonoscopy, on the other hand, is an outpatient procedure in the hospital that requires IV sedation.
Examination Of Your Prostate
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, such as a lumpy, hard prostate. Doctors call this test a digital rectal examination .
It’s normal to feel a bit anxious about this test and it might be uncomfortable. But it usually only takes a few minutes.
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What If I Am Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
Many people have been where you are standing. Dont lose hope. More than 3.1 million American men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are alive today.
The first thing you should consider doing is to find out about the specifics of your cancer. You should know your stage and grade .
From there you can find out what treatment options you want to pursue, if any. Talk to your doctors. Choose a healthcare team of different specialists, or consult a second opinion. You can also do your own research, or talk to men who have been in your position. Many of our advocates are patients and survivors hear their stories at the video library. Or head to the rest of our website to start some research.
Determining who needs treatment for prostate cancer has evolved with new options to diagnose aggressive vs. indolent disease. Check out our infographic with more information on what genomic and advanced tests are available based on a mans individual cancer.
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Dr. Behfar Ehdaie, a urologic surgeon specializing in prostate cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said that these varying guidelines are due to the different risk factors that each person faces. Things like family history, environmental factors, race and more can all come into play when it comes to assessing prostate cancer risk.
Ã¢There are specific patient level factors that have to go into that decision, including family history, comorbidities, and life expectancy,Ã¢ said Ehdaie, who said that people who are not expected to live more than another decade may not be advised to get screened. Ã¢And of course, the patientÃ¢s own preferences are taken into account, their goals, what they want to achieve.Ã¢
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