The Importance Of A Prostate Exam
Let’s be honest, it’s one of the exams that men dread the most. The American Cancer Society reports that 1 in 7 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. And while that number is relatively high, prostate cancer deaths are considerably less common — only 1 in 38 men will die from prostate cancer — and it’s likely those numbers could be lowered further. While the prostate exam isn’t exactly a “fun” procedure, it is an important part of keeping your health in check.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Age — The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, especially after age 50. More than 80% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older.
Ethnic background — According to the American Cancer Society, Asian and Latino men have the lowest incidences of prostate cancer. In contrast, African-American men are more likely to develop the disease than men of other races and ethnicities. They’re also more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage and have a poor outcome.
Family history — Men whose relatives have had prostate cancer are considered to be at high risk. Having a father or brother with the disease more than doubles your risk for prostate cancer.
What To Expect During A Prostate Exam
A prostate exam, also referred to as a digital rectal exam, involves a doctor or healthcare professional inserting a lubricated finger into the rectum. During this procedure they will be looking for any abnormalities in the prostate including hard spots, bumps and lumps. If any abnormalities are found the doctor will generally request further testing to be done. While a prostate exam cannot indicate to the doctor what is wrong – it does help them to find abnormalities so further testing can be completed.
Why Is A Prostate Exam Important?
If you are aged over 50, prostate exams become incredibly important as they help catch any problems in their earliest stages when they can still be treated. Even just a small infection in the prostate can quickly develop into a very serious problem. Prostate cancer develops very slowly within the prostate and men can go for many years without noticing any symptoms and only get diagnosed when it’s too late. By detecting prostate cancer early on, the survival rates are very high and the treatment is much less invasive.
Fortunately, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, and the survival rate when caught early is close to 100%. The key with prostate cancer is being able to detect it early so that it can be treated and cleared up with far less difficulty. Even though the procedure can cause a little momentary embarrassment and discomfort, it is a worthwhile trade off for having a longer and healthier life. So do yourself a favor and go to your doctor to get your prostate checked out today!