Routine screenings are an important part of preventive health care. These screenings occur when you’re not showing symptoms but may have risk factors for a certain disease such as cancer. By identifying early warning signs of the disease, you stand a better chance of recovery and a higher success rate with your treatment.
Prostate cancer screenings are one type of preventive testing men need to reduce their risk for long-term complications. Our providers at the Urology Specialist Group offer routine prostate cancer screenings in-office to catch cancer in its earliest stages and prevent its potentially aggressive spread.
An overview of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer develops when cancerous cells develop in the prostate gland. This gland is located below your bladder and responsible for producing semen to assist in the transportation of sperm.
While it’s not clear what triggers the growth of cancerous cells in the prostate, there are certain factors that put you at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. This risk factors include:
Men are at increased risk for developing prostate cancer as they get older, especially after the age of 50.
Men who are obese may be at increased risk for developing prostate cancer than someone who maintains a healthy weight. Obesity can also increase the likelihood that the cancer will be more aggressive and more likely to recur even after treatment.
While all men over 50 are at risk for developing prostate cancer, those of African American ancestry may be at greater risk. Black men may also be more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Family medical history
Men with a parent or sibling who has prostate cancer may be more likely to develop cancer, too. A family history of having the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 breast cancer genes may also increase your risk for prostate cancer.
Why preventive screenings are so important
Preventive prostate cancer screenings are vital for detecting signs of cancer in the prostate because this type of cancer doesn’t often show symptoms in the earliest stages.
Cancer cells in the prostate typically grow slowly. However, this type of cancer can also develop quickly and become advanced enough to cause issues like:
- Pelvic pain
- Bloody urine
- Urinary dysfunction
- Erectile dysfunction
If left untreated, prostate cancer can spread to other parts of your body, including your bladder or bloodstream. You may also develop recurrent urinary incontinence, the inability to control urine leaks.
When to schedule your prostate cancer screenings
Because every man has unique health needs, discussing your options for prostate cancer screenings with your Urology Specialist Group physician is highly recommended if you have a family history of prostate cancer or other risk factors for the disease. You also need immediate diagnostic testing if you have symptoms of prostate cancer.
Typically, men with a high risk for cancer need a screening starting at age 40. Men who are at average risk for prostate cancer should get screened starting at age 50.
Our urologists can determine the right timeline for your first routine screening based on your specific medical history and current health. They can also recommend when you need follow-up testing.
Generally, men who have prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test less than 2.5 ng/mL need rescreening every two years and those with higher levels need a screening once a year.
To discuss your needs for prostate cancer screenings, book an appointment online or by calling the Urology Specialist Group office nearest you today.