Prostate cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer for men, second only to lung cancer in the amount of lives it claims. Fortunately, the condition can be caught early, thanks to screening tests that identify tumors and other prostate distress.
Determining Your Risk
Screening for prostate cancer is recommended for men over the age of 50, although those at higher risk may be instructed to begin screening as young as age 40. Screening is thought to be less valuable over age 75, depending on overall health and quality of life, as the treatment for cancers caught at this age may be more disruptive than any potential symptoms experienced. Factors that are likely to increase your risk of prostate cancer include a sedentary lifestyle, a high-fat diet, African-American ethnicity, and a family history of the disease.
Receiving a Digital Rectal Exam
This test is often performed by a primary care practitioner as part of a routine check-up. While you are bent over or lying on the examining table, your doctor will insert a gloved finger into your rectum to palpate your prostate. This enables the physician to detect tumors on the prostate gland as well as any rectal abnormalities.
Undergoing a PSA Test
Because the digital rectal exam cannot consistently reveal the presence of early prostate cancer, you may be asked to undergo a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which is a blood test measuring the amount of PSA produced by the prostate. High levels of the substance may indicate prostate cancer, although they may also result from benign prostatic hypertrophy or prostatitis.
To schedule a prostate cancer screening or to speak with a urologist about the results of your latest test, call West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4321. Our state-of-the-art Cancer Care center treats more patients in the West Hills area than any other facility.