Understanding the Prostate Exam
The prostate—pay attention to this tiny gland, as it can be vulnerable to potentially serious conditions.
If you’ve entered middle age, your urologist may soon recommend routine exams to head off prostate problems, such as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. Let’s get a better understanding of the importance of a prostate exam as well as what it involves.
The Importance of Prostate Exams
BPH, commonly known as prostate enlargement, affects the vast majority of men in their middle and senior years. Although not malignant, BPH is a progressive condition that can impact sexual function, contribute to infections (e.g., prostatitis and UTIs), and lead to potentially serious conditions (e.g., bladder and kidney damage, etc.). BPH has similar symptoms as prostate cancer. The results of a prostate exam can help your urologist determine the necessity for further testing to confirm BPH and rule out prostate cancer and other conditions.
Additionally, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that out of 100 men, roughly 13 will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, and about 1 in 41 men will succumb to the disease. Experts recommend that men with average risk undergo annual prostate cancer screening between ages 55 and 69; and those with strong risk factors for the disease start annual prostate cancer screening at age 40.
Routine screening is crucial for detecting prostate cancer early—before symptoms appear and when treatment is most effective. With early detection, prostate cancer is not only treatable but also beatable.
What Does a Prostate Exam Involve?
The screening prostate exam is two-fold, involving:
- A digital rectal exam (DRE) – In this procedure, your urologist inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to palpate (feel) your prostate and check for any lumps and other irregularities;
- Prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) – A PSA test involves your urologist obtaining a sample of your blood and sending to the laboratory for analysis.
PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in your prostate. Elevated levels of PSA could mean you have prostate cancer, BPH, or both. In such case, your urologist may order further workup to confirm a diagnosis.
Your Men’s Health Specialist in Concord, Mint Hill, and Charlotte, NC
At Carolina Urology Partners, Dr. Richard Natale has helped numerous men in Charlotte, NC and all of its neighbouring places achieve optimal genitourinary health. With Dr. Natale, you can rest assured that your consultations are friendly, matter-of-fact, informative, and confidential.
Book your appointment today. Call us our staff at (704) 786-5131, or send your appointment request using this form.