Annual Prostate Checks: A Key Defense Against Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 288,300 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. The good news is it has one of the highest survival rates of any type of cancer due to the slow speed at which it grows and spreads — as well as the opportunity for early detection.
Prostate cancer originates within the prostate gland, a small, walnut-sized organ situated below the bladder, crucial for the male reproductive system. Abnormal cell growth in the prostate can lead to prostate cancer.
“Early stages often have no symptoms, making screening helpful in detecting abnormalities sooner,” says Katie Bittner, DO, Aspirus Family Medicine Physician. “Detecting and treating certain prostate cancers can sometimes improve survival rates and minimize the extent of treatments recommended.”
Aspirus Health Screening Guidelines recommend that men aged 50 and older get screened annually for prostate cancer.
The most common screening tool for prostate cancer is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This blood test measures the presence of PSA circulating in the bloodstream and is usually the first step in any prostate cancer diagnosis. A digital rectal exam is less effective than the PSA blood test in finding prostate cancer, but it can sometimes find cancers in men with normal PSA levels. Therefore, it may be included as a part of prostate cancer screening based on risk.
“Patients often have questions about what it means to complete prostate cancer screening. We try to make this a joint decision-making process, discussing the most up to date recommendations for screening options, depending on the patient’s age and other risk factors. Quite often this is simply completing a blood test,” says Dr. Bittner.
Don’t wait – prioritize your health and get screened regularly for prostate cancer. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or find one at www.aspirus.org/find-a-provider