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  • What to Expect From Prostate Cancer Testing

Featured Image Caption: Doctor Assisting Her Patient With Report

Prostate cancer affects approximately one in eight men and is usually diagnosed in men who are 65 years of age or older. Advancements in treatment have improved prostate cancer survival rates significantly, and treatment outcomes are usually better with early detection. Diagnostic testing can identify the presence of prostate cancer in its early and more advanced stages, and you can prepare yourself better for prostate cancer testing if you know what to expect.

When Testing Should be Scheduled

Your doctor may recommend that you undergo testing for prostate cancer if you’re of a certain age, but you should also arrange to have testing performed if you notice certain symptoms that may indicate the presence of the disease. Common prostate cancer symptoms include:

  • Difficulties urinating
  • Blood in urine and/or semen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Unusual bone pain

Digital Rectal Exam

A digital rectal exam is usually the first test that a doctor will perform. The doctor will feel inside your rectum with a finger while wearing a glove and using lubrication to try to minimize pain and discomfort during the examination. This test is done to feel for any abnormalities in the prostate’s shape, size, or texture and to possibly identify any other lumps in the area that could be cancerous.

Prostate-specific Antigen Test

When you go in for prostate cancer testing, you’ll likely also have blood drawn to measure the amount of the protein known as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. If the rate of PSA is higher than normal, you could have prostate cancer. However, your PSA could also be elevated because of benign prostate enlargement or another noncancerous condition, so your doctor may perform additional tests to render an accurate diagnosis.

Additional Testing

If the results from your digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen test are normal, further testing probably won’t be needed. However, your doctor will likely want to conduct additional testing if any of your preliminary test results are abnormal or the doctor suspects that you have prostate cancer based on other symptoms. Ultrasound and MR testing may be performed to generate images of the prostate gland and surrounding areas to look for any suspicious masses or other unusual features. A biopsy, which involves taking a sample of cells from the prostate for analysis, may also be done.

Signs To Ask Your Doctor About

Prostate cancer is one of the most frequent malignancies in males, affecting almost 200,000 men in the United States each year. While hundreds of people die from the disease each year, it is also one of the few cancers that can be easily cured if caught early. If you have a family history of this form of cancer or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, talk to your doctor about getting checked right away.

Pain, Sexual Dysfunction, and Urinary Problems

One of the first indicators for many men diagnosed with prostate cancer is persistent and recurrent pain in the area of the prostate gland. In most situations, this means pain in and around your pelvic area and hips, as well as your lower back and upper thighs.

The prostate gland is an important part of the male reproductive system. As a result, one of the symptoms of prostate cancer can be varying degrees of sexual dysfunction. This causes most men trouble maintaining or obtaining an erection, as well as pain during ejaculation. In general, men with early-stage prostate cancer have few symptoms linked to sexual dysfunction.

Urinary difficulties are one of the first symptoms that anything is awry for many prostate cancer patients. Having to urinate frequently or feeling the need to urinate frequently, a burning sensation when urinating, a weak urine flow, trouble starting to urinate, or having blood in your urine are the most prevalent symptoms. However, because many of these issues are also linked to non-cancerous prostate disease, always consult your doctor about getting the proper testing to identify your issue.

Conclusion

If you’re concerned about prostate cancer, prostate cancer testing can give you answers. A doctor can explain more about what this testing involves and answer any other questions you may have.

Lizzie Weakley

By Lizzie Weakley
who is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.

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