Urology: Importance of Regular Prostate Exams

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the prostate gland, which only males have. The prostate is a small gland that’s about the size of a walnut, and it is located just below the bladder. It produces fluid that allows semen to move properly during ejaculation, so it is imperative for reproductive health.

However, a man does not need a prostate for overall health. Therefore, if a man develops prostate cancer, the urologist may recommend a full prostatectomy (prostate removal) to foster the man’s longevity.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is predicted to claim around 34,500 lives in 2022. Fortunately, there are several types of effective screening for prostate cancer, and early detection and treatment are key. Let’s talk about how screening works for prostate cancer, and where you can go in Charlotte and Concord for outstanding men’s health care.

What Is Involved in a Prostate Exam?

If you have a first-degree family member (father or brother) who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend that you have prostate exams as early as age 40. As part of your annual checkup, your doctor may test your blood to check its PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels.

Prostate-specific antigen is a protein that can be produced by both benign and malignant prostate cells. A high PSA doesn’t necessarily indicate prostate cancer; your doctor will actually compare your PSA levels to prior levels, and an increasing number may indicate cancer. Unusually high PSA levels may warrant further testing to rule out or confirm a cancer diagnosis.

Along with a PSA test, your doctor may conduct a DRE (digital rectal exam), which is a manual check of your prostate. Your physician will wear a glove as they insert a finger into the rectum and feel the prostate gland for any lumps or swelling.

If you have had any difficulty in urinating, you may have an enlarged prostate, which is called BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). This is not a cancerous condition, but it can interfere with proper urination and can be painful and aggravating – even interfering with a good night’s sleep every night. There are effective treatments for BPH that can greatly reduce your symptoms.

Why Regular Prostate Exams Are Important

Regular prostate exams can help identify early signs of prostate cancer before it becomes life-threatening. Catching the disease early can greatly improve the chances for successful treatment, as is true of many other types of cancer.

Plus, if prostate cancer is detected early, you may have more choices regarding treatment. Some prostate cancers are so small and slow-growing that you may opt for a wait-and-see approach, where the doctor monitors its progression. You may also decide to only have the cancerous section of the prostate removed, and not the entire prostate.

Board-Certified Urologist in Concord and Mint Hill/Charlotte, NC

If you are a man who is ready to take charge of your health, see a skilled urologist who can give you personalized recommendations. Dr. Richard Natale is a board-certified urologist in Concord and Mint Hill (in Greater Charlotte) who is dedicated to helping men take a proactive approach to their health. Dr. Natale not only performs prostate cancer screenings but also treats prostate problems such as an enlarged prostate (BPH) using the most advanced methods available today.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Natale by calling our urology clinic today at (704) 786-5131 or by filling out our convenient appointment request form online now. We look forward to being your provider for men’s health.

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