Did you know that nearly 175,000 US men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year? For most of them, the disease is discovered before cancer got a chance to spread to other organs in the body, so the survival rate is higher. Still, there’s no point in waiting for the bad news when you can do a prostate exam and see if you’re predisposed to this health issue.
A prostate exam is quite common in the United States and it involves multiple tests, including the PSA test. But many men wonder what is the recommended age for prostate exam? This is a good question and you should dive into this article to find the answer to it as well as much more information about prostate cancer in general.
1. The Recommended Age for A Prostate Exam is Between 55 and 69 Years
The prostate exam should only be done after discussing it with a healthcare provider. It’s important for the patient to discuss this issue at length with his doctor and explore the potential risks, and benefits associated with this exam. Most men are screened for prostate cancer between 55 and 69 years of age. Doctors also recommend not to screen for prostate cancer if you’re 70 years old or older.
2. People Who Have Relatives with Prostate Cancer Should Screen Sooner
Although prostate cancer rarely happens for people under the age of 50, some patients are more predisposed to this type of disease. For example, men who have first-degree relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer should screen when they’re 45 years old. If a person has more than one first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer then he should screen while he’s 40 years old.
Screening earlier has numerous benefits. First of all, it helps to detect if prostate cancer has developed in a certain patient or if he’s just at high risk of developing it. If cancer is present, detecting it early helps to come up with a suitable treatment option which will increase the chances of survival for the patient.
3. How Do You Test for Prostate Cancer?
If you have talked with your doctor and you agree to do the prostate exam, you might be happy to find out that the procedure is quite simple. You have to give a blood sample to be analyzed in a lab and determine your PSA levels. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It’s a protein found in your bloodstream that indicates if you have prostate cancer or you’re at high risk of developing it.
Apart from the blood test, you might also be required to do a direct rectal exam (DRE). This is done in a few minutes in a doctor’s office and helps the doctor verify if there are lumps or abnormalities usually associated with prostate problems.
If the PSA levels in your body are smaller than 2.5 ng/mL of blood then you have nothing to worry about. If the levels are between 2.5 and 4 ng/mL then you might be required to do a prostate screening every year. If the PSA levels are above 4 ng/mL then you need to do further investigations to determine if you really have prostate cancer.
Further tests include a prostate biopsy, an MRI scan or a transrectal ultrasound test. Based on the results from these tests, you’ll receive a diagnosis and can begin treatment if necessary.
4. What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Problems?
Although virtually every man over the age of 55 years should do a prostate exam, the test is strongly recommended for people who have various symptoms usually associated with prostate issues. Here are some of these symptoms:
l Frequent urination, especially during the night
l Bladder infections and pains while urinating
l Bladder obstruction that prevents men from urinating normally
l Multiple bacterial infections and inflammation in the bladder
l An enlarged prostate, a condition also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia
In other words, if you feel the need to go very often during the day or night without necessarily increasing your fluid intake, it’s possible that you might have an inflamed prostate. Doing the prostate exam is highly recommended to determine your prostate issues and whether you’re at risk of developing prostate cancer or not.
5. What Happens if Prostate Cancer is Confirmed by Biopsy
In the unfortunate event that prostate cancer is confirmed, there are other tests required to determine how much it has spread and how quickly it can grow. The cancerous cells tend to multiply and invade other organs and tissues. Determining how much the prostate cancer has spread helps to mitigate its effects on the body.
In some cases, the cancer is limited to the prostate only, meaning that it hasn’t spread to other organs. This can be found out by using different types of tests including an MRI scan. The PSA levels are continuously monitored to determine the evolution of prostate cancer and how well the patient responds to treatment.
6. What Are the Treatment Options?
Treating prostate cancer is not easy, but there are many options that can be taken into consideration. For example, some patients might be compatible with chemotherapy or hormone therapy to mitigate the damage done by the cancerous cells. Surgery is also an option, especially if the prostate cancer didn’t spread too much outside the prostate.
In clinical trials, there are new treatment methods used by doctors to eliminate the cancerous cells more effectively. For example, Cryosurgery and focused ultrasound therapy are just a few of these methods. Thanks to the quick advancements in medicine and technology, it will be easier to treat prostate cancer in the future.
Now You Know What’s The Recommended Age For Prostate Exam!
To wrap it up, the recommended age for prostate exam is between 55 and 69 years, but this applies to men who don’t have relatives with prostate cancer. You should screen for this disease on a regular basis and only after discussing it at length with your healthcare provider.
Before leaving, don’t forget to check out the other health articles on our blog to learn more about prostate cancer and men’s health in general!