Allergy testing can benefit patients with mild to life-threatening symptoms. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, over 50 million Americans have some type of allergy. Many will deal with annoying, but not life-threatening, environmental allergies such as pollen and mold in the spring and fall, while others will spend their lives…
Why Getting Regular Prostate Screenings is Important
Most cancers have a better prognosis if they are caught early. A prostate screening is important because prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Most prostate cancers progress slowly. If it is detected while it is still confined to the prostate gland, it is much easier to treat. Once it moves out of the gland, it can easily transmit through blood or lymph tissue or spread to nearby organs such as the bladder.
Risk factors for prostate cancer
The cause of prostate cancer is not fully known, but doctors do know that it occurs when the prostate's DNA changes and causes a proliferation of abnormal cells. Although men should get regular screenings beginning in their 50s, there are certain risk factors that indicate earlier and more frequent screenings may be necessary. The following are factors that increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Most cases of prostate cancer occur in those aged 50 and older. As one ages, the risk is greater, which is why it is recommended to get the first prostate screening at around age 50.
There is a better chance of getting prostate cancer if someone in the family has also had it. A family history of breast cancer is also a risk factor.
Black men are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. They are also more likely to have aggressive forms of the cancer.
Men who are overweight also seem to be at a higher risk of this cancer. There is also a greater risk in those whose diets consist mainly of animal fats and very few fruits and vegetables.
How a prostate screening is performed
A prostate screening is recommended on an annual basis because there are no symptoms or signs in the early stages. People who have symptoms related to prostate cancer should schedule a screening right away, as the following symptoms indicate more advanced stages of the cancer:
- Blood in the semen or urine
- Difficulty urinating
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bone pain
- Erectile dysfunction
One of the most common screening tools for prostate cancer is the prostate-specific antigen blood test. A higher PSA level indicates a potential prostate problem, which could be cancer or another issue. If the PSA is abnormally high, the general practitioner will often recommend a biopsy of the prostate to see if cancer is present.
Instead of or in conjunction with a PSA, the doctor may also use a digital rectal exam as a prostate screening tool. During this test, the doctor will feel for any abnormalities in the shape, texture, or size of the prostate gland. If there are, further tests are ordered. Along with a biopsy, other tests that can help determine the presence of cancer are an MRI and ultrasound.
A prostate screening can catch this common cancer in the early stages when treatment is fairly easy and successful. Men of a certain age, as well as those with risk factors, should schedule screenings regularly.
Contact our office today to schedule a prostate screening for cancer prevention.
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