Prostate cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the prostate tissue. Detecting prostate cancer early means an increased chance of catching it at a curable stage. Screening aims to catch cancer before it has a chance to spread. Prostate cancer can be detected early by two tests: a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood, as well as a physical exam of the prostate gland: a digital rectal exam. Since prostate cancer can be symptomless, getting screened is the first step to preventing illness.
The odds of getting prostate cancer increase as men get older. Screening for prostate cancer should start at age 40 for men who are considered “high risk.” If you are of average risk, prostate screening should start at age 50. If you are unsure where you fall in the risk category, talk to your doctor. Understanding your risk for developing the disease is important. There is no way for doctors to predict who will get cancer and who will not. Health experts look at common patterns to determine risk factors. These are some of the risk factors that may increase the odds of prostate cancer:
- Having family members with the disease
- Being of African-American heritage
- Eating a diet high in dairy food
- Being over 50
- Not exercising
- Drinking alcohol
- Having high levels of the testosterone hormone
- Having sexually transmitted infections
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in the United States among men. It remains a highly treatable cancer, due in part to its slow-growing nature and the success of early screenings. If your doctor finds something abnormal during a routine screening, you will probably be scheduled for a follow-up test such as a biopsy. Doctors can then determine whether the cancer is contained to that organ, has spread to other nearby organs, or has metastasized.
To learn more about your risk factors or discuss screening options, schedule an appointment to speak to one of our specialists today. For more information, visit Plaza Medical Center online or call 817-877-7592.