Be a PRO: Find Out if Prostate Cancer Screening is Right for You
Screening means testing for cancer before you have any symptoms. A screening test may help find cancer at an early stage, when it’s less likely to have spread and may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have started to spread.
For this reason, it’s recommended that you talk to your doctor about prostate health starting at age 50 (earlier if you’re at high risk of developing the disease). Your health care provider will evaluate your risk factors, medical history and family history of prostate cancer, as well as explain the benefits and limitations of prostate cancer screening. Armed with this information, you can decide whether prostate cancer screening is the right thing for you.
Prostate Cancer Screenings
The main screening tools for prostate cancer are the digital rectal examination (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The DRE and PSA tests can’t tell if you have cancer; they can only suggest the need for further testing.
- The digital rectal examination is a quick test during which your physician will feel the prostate gland for abnormalities.
- The prostate-specific-antigen test measures PSA levels in your blood. An elevated PSA level may indicate a prostate problem.
When should I turn PRO?
Talk to your health care provider about your risk of prostate cancer and your possible need for prostate cancer screening tests.
- If you’re at normal risk of developing cancer, talk to your doctor starting at age 50.
- If you’re at high risk — you’re either African American or you have a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) who developed prostate cancer before age 65 — talk to your doctor starting at age 45.
- If you have several first-degree relatives who developed prostate cancer before age 65, talk to your doctor starting at age 40.
Don’t have a primary care provider or have questions about prostate cancer?
If you need a free referral to a primary care provider or specialist, or if you would like more information about prostate cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, call:
- Lourdes Oncology Nurse Coordinator at 607-798-5181
- UHS NurseDirect (607) 763-5555