You should know what your prostate is and what it does. Over 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that impact their quality of life. Each year over 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 30,000 will die from it.
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a part of your sex organs that produce fluid and contributes to the production of sperm. It’s small, about the size of a walnut, and surrounds the urethra, a tube that takes urine from the bladder to the penis. The urethra also carries semen during ejaculation. The prostate gland grows during puberty and then doesn’t change much until about age 40. Then it begins growing again and may continue to grow with age. Some men aren’t bothered by the growth, but others will develop one of three prostate diseases and sometimes, more than one.
Prostate Screening Tips
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), most prostate cancers found by screening are small and slow growing and may not be fatal. Some men may have a faster growing prostate cancer and will benefit from early treatment.
Older men, African-American men, and men who have a family history of prostate cancer have a greater risk for developing prostate cancer. If you are concerned that you may have a greater risk for prostate cancer, talk to your doctor about screening.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
One screening test for prostate cancer is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which can be abnormal (not normal) for several reasons besides prostate cancer. The only way to know if an abnormal test is due to cancer is to do a biopsy. A biopsy is a surgery to get small pieces of the prostate to look at under a microscope. If the biopsy shows there are cancer cells, then your doctor will discuss treatment options.
Treatment of prostate cancer may include:
•Close monitoring and follow-up visits.
•Surgery to remove the prostate.
Side effects from radiation or surgery may include:
•Loss of bladder control
•Problems with your rectum.
Some medical groups have different screening recommendations. Talk with your doctor or nurse to decide together if prostate cancer screening is right for you.