Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men. In fact, some 268,490 men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. As part of taking care of their overall health, men should get prostate cancer screenings starting in middle age, depending on their risk level.
Dr. Burt Webb, Dr. Russell Bartels, and the entire VitalityMDs team partner with their male patients for essential diagnostics, like colonoscopies, skin checks, and prostate cancer screenings.
Remember, the earlier cancer is discovered, the sooner it can be treated, leading to a better prognosis.
Prostate cancer strikes older men more frequently. Over half of the diagnoses made are in men aged 65 or over, and less than 1% of diagnoses are made in men under 50. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are at higher risk, as are Black men, so screening is even more critical for these groups.
Other factors linked to prostate cancer risk include lifestyle practices, such as leading a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and eating a diet that contains a lot of high-fat meat and dairy products.
It’s thought that a man’s hormone levels influence the role diet plays in the development of prostate cancer as well. Fats create more testosterone and other hormones, and testosterone is what fuels prostate cancer’s growth. If a man has a high testosterone level, the hormone can stimulate inactive prostate cancer cells to become active.
One part of being screened for prostate cancer is the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test, which is a blood test that reveals the amount of PSA — a substance produced by your prostate — that you have in your blood.
Bear in mind though, that age, race, taking certain medications, having an enlarged prostate, and other factors can elevate your PSA level.
A PSA level of 4 or below was generally considered normal in the past, but now our team takes these other factors into account when assessing your condition. Elevated levels generally call for a biopsy.
A digital rectal examination (DRE) is another screening that involves your practitioner inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum to feel for abnormalities. The test is controversial, however, and some medical organizations don't recognize the benefits of the test.
Discussing screening options with our team is the best thing to do since every person and their prostate cancer risk differs.
If a prostate cancer diagnosis is made, treatments include robotic prostate removal surgery, radiation therapy (external or internal), cryotherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment, chemotherapy, and androgen suppression therapy.
As with the timing of most screenings, you want to discuss this with our team, since your individual risk factors will impact recommendations.
According to the American Cancer Society, screenings can start for men at average risk when they’re 50, at 45 for those at high risk (Black men, a man with a first-degree relative diagnosed younger than 65), and at age 40 for those at a more elevated risk (men with multiple first-degree relatives diagnosed at an early age).
Since VitalityMDs offers a wide range of men’s health services and treatments, screening for prostate cancer is something we encourage for all of our male patients, depending on their age and other risk factors.
Call our office at 480-425-8700 to schedule your screening or to learn more. You can also request an appointment online.