Second only to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men. About 1 in 8 males are diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life. However, the mortality rate is significantly lower thanks to effective treatments and screening processes.
Because screening for prostate cancer is so vital in its treatment, our expert team at Health Solutions wants to ensure all men have this critical information. Here, we explain how prostate cancer develops and review some guidelines on when to start screenings.
Explaining prostate cancer
Your prostate is a gland that sits between your penis and bladder. It has numerous functions, such as aiding urine control, transporting semen, and producing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) — a protein that keeps semen in a liquid state.
Because prostate cancer shows almost no symptoms in its earliest stages, prostate cancer screenings are the best way to detect any cancer before it develops further. Testing measures the amount of PSA in your blood — high amounts suggest cancer may be present.
Prostate cancer risk factors
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown; however, these things can put you at a higher risk for developing it:
- Age: Your risk jumps significantly after age 50
- Family history: If you have a close relative with prostate cancer, you have a high chance of developing it
- Race or ethnicity: If you’re African American, you have an increased risk of prostate cancer
A high-fat diet may also increase your risk of prostate cancer.
When to start prostate cancer screenings
Your need for prostate cancer screenings varies depending on your age and other risk factors.
If you’re between the ages of 40-54, you should schedule a screening only if you meet the following criteria:
- You have at least one close relative (brother or father) with prostate cancer
- You have two or more extended relatives with prostate cancer
- You are African American
The best time to start screenings is when you are between the ages of 55-69 since this is when men are the most likely to develop cancer, and treatments are most effective.
If your PSA levels are abnormal, we order a repeat test. After that, we perform a prostate biopsy to determine the cause of the raised PSA levels.
To learn more about qualifications for prostate cancer screenings or to schedule one, contact one of our offices in Tinley Park, Rockford, and Olympia Fields, Illinois, or Munster, Indiana, or use our online booking tool to request an appointment with us today.