Each year, 180,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 26,000 of that number eventually die from it. Those numbers are staggering, especially when we consider how treatable the disease is when caught early.
But that’s the issue. It’s often caught too late because of the lack of routine screenings and general awareness among the population.
So this month, we wear BLUE to bring awareness to the dangers of prostate cancer and the benefits of prevention and early diagnosis.
But Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is more than just wearing blue, it involves getting off the couch and getting yourself checked (or insisting your partner get checked out). Prostate cancer IS TREATABLE IF CAUGHT EARLY.
So what does a prostate cancer screening involve?
There are two accepted forms of Prostate Cancer Screenings: The PSA Test and a DRE.
The DRE (The Digital Rectal Exam) is the procedure that most people are familiar with. The procedure is straightforward. A nurse or doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the patient’s rectum and feels for lumps on the prostate and gauges whether the prostate is enlarged or not. From a physical examination, your doctor will be able to determine whether further testing is necessary.
The PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) Test measures the level of prostate antigens — produced by the prostate — in the blood. There is a correlation between high levels of PSA in the blood stream and prostate cancer. A PSA test is not enough on its own to determine if the patient has prostate cancer, but your doctor can take elevated PSA levels into account along with other factors to determine if further testing is necessary.
The only surefire way to determine the presence of prostate cancer is a biopsy, but because a biopsy is an inherently painful process, most physicians will perform one or both of the above tests before ordering a biopsy.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So, this month, wear your blue to promote prostate cancer awareness and get yourself checked.
Ready to schedule your screening?
Call Outpatient Services East at 205-838-3888 to schedule a consultation.
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