It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in the world of prostate cancer, this is especially true. Prostate cancer screening is one of the most important ways of catching the disease earlier and putting as top to it before it becomes a bigger problem. Three ways of prostate cancer screening is being aware of the symptoms, obtaining DRE exams as well as PSA tests. Read below for more on these methods of prostate cancer screening. One way to enhance prostate cancer screening is to know the symptoms. Many of these symptoms occur during urination and include frequent urination, problems urinating as well as problems holding back urination. Also, urine flows that are weak or interrupted can be a sign of prostate cancer. If it burns or is painful when you urinate, you find blood in your urine or semen, or if it is painful to ejaculate, you may want to see a doctor. Other symptoms include lower back, upper thigh and hip pain. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it may be time to contact a doctor.
One method of prostate cancer screening is the DRE, or digital rectal exam. In a digital rectal exam a doctor inserts a finger that has been gloved and lubricated into the rectum. The purpose of the exam is to feel the prostate gland and the area around the prostate gland to check for any tumors. Men are often asked to stand and bend forward or to lay on his side with his knees bent. While the finger is inserted, the doctor may use the other hand to press on the abdomen to check for any irregularities. While uncomfortable, this exam is relatively painless. Regardless, this exam can be an essential part of prostate cancer screening.
The PSA Exam
The letters PSA stand for “prostate-specific antigen”, which is a protein that prostate gland cells produce. Often, a PSA test is given to determine the possibility that a man may have prostate cancer. A doctor can test a man’s PSA levels by taking blood and analyzing the results. The levels of PSA proteins in the blood are reported in the following manner: 0 to 2.5 ng/ml is considered low, 2.6 to 10 is considered elevated slightly, 10 to 19.9 is considered elevated moderately, and 20 is considered strongly elevated. The National Cancer Institute says that there is no “normal” PSA level; however, higher levels may point to a prostate problem.