Prostate cancer screening is done two ways:
During a digital rectal exam, the doctor inserts a gloved finger with lubricant on it into the rectum. He or she feels the prostate through the rectal wall to check for hard or lumpy areas.
A lab measures the level of PSA in a blood sample. The PSA level may rise in men who have prostate cancer, enlarged prostate or a prostate infection.
If a suspicious area is found, or if your PSA level is elevated,
your doctor may perform more tests such as ultrasound, and/or lab tests.
The doctor may also choose to perform a biopsy, which is the
removal of small pieces of tissue for lab tests.
The earlier cancer is found, the more successful cancer
treatment can be. This makes prostate cancer detection or screening
important to a man's general health.
If your father or brother has had prostate cancer or if you are
African American, we recommend starting annual prostate cancer
screenings at age 40. For others, annual screening should begin at
45 to 50 years.
Contact your primary
care provider about when you should be screened for prostate
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Prostate Cancer, can-ahc-14188 (3/02)
Lisa Hiedeman, RN coordinator, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute Prostate
Cancer Program and Heather Christie, RN coordinator, Virginia Piper
Cancer Institute Prostate Cancer Program