During Men’s Health Week, it is important to educate yourself and the men in your life on the proactive steps you can take to keeping your body healthy. Cancer screening is a crucial part of maintaining your body’s health. Regular screenings can detect cancer at early stages which, in turn, may make it easier to treat. Below you will find an overview of screening guidelines that apply to men.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
While there are no standard or routine screening tests for prostate cancer, various types of prostate cancer screenings are currently being studied, including:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) — an internal physical examination of the prostate performed by inserting a lubricated glove finger into the rectum.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test — a blood test measuring the level of PSA. A higher level may indicate prostate cancer, an infection or inflammation of the prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
- Prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) test — a test measuring the amount of PCA3 present in the urine – the higher the level, the more likely that prostate cancer is present.
- TMPRSS2:ERG — a urine test that looks for an abnormal gene change in prostate cells collected after a DRE that are found in 50 percent of all localized prostate cancers, but rarely when prostate cancer is not present.
The age at which men should discuss with their healthcare providers the need for screening tests is based on an individual’s risk level for developing prostate cancer:
- Average risk — men with no prostate cancer in their immediate family. Discuss screening at age 50.
- High risk — African Americans or those with a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65. Discuss screening at age 45.
- Very high risk — those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer before age 65. Discuss screening at age 40.
Be sure to consult your physician on the best screening schedule for you, as he or she may recommend earlier or more frequent screening based on your personal or family history with cancer. If you have questions on cancer screening, you can call askSARAH to speak to a nurse.