Prostate Cancer Screenings in MA & RI
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer affecting American men after skin cancer. In the United States, it affects one in seven men at some point during their lifetime. While prostate cancer is a serious disease, its prognosis is often more positive than other cancers. Early detection is key to a healthy recovery. Southcoast Health provides various prostate cancer screening tests that will check for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in your blood. The results of these tests can help you and your doctor assess your current risks for prostate cancer and come up with the best treatment plan if cancer is present.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs when a malignant tumor forms in your prostate gland. Doctors currently do not know what causes prostate cancer, but as with all cancers, it begins when the cells in your prostate tissue become abnormal or altered, forming cancerous cells.
Usually, prostate cancer grows slowly, but if left untreated, it can spread outside of the prostate gland and become more aggressive. However, whether the prostate cancer is widespread or not, it is still a disease that should be treated immediately for the best chances of recovery.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
More than 3 million cases of prostate cancer occur in the United States per year, so all men should consider undergoing a prostate cancer screening test during their annual doctor’s visit. The risk for prostate cancer increases dramatically once men turn 50 years old. Additionally, the following factors increase a person’s risk for prostate cancer:
- African-American race
- Exposure to chemicals
- Family history of prostate cancer
- Sedentary lifestyle (for example, an office job)
The certainty of other possible risk factors, such as diet, weight, smoking, and drug history, is not clear. However, leading an active and healthy lifestyle is always an excellent decision, and can help decrease your risk for cancer and other illnesses throughout your life.
When to See a Doctor for Prostate Cancer
Since prostate cancer is common in men, it is recommended that you undergo a prostate cancer screening once a year after turning 50 years old. There are two main types of prostate cancer screenings: blood testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and digital rectal exams (DRE). Depending on your general health and needs, your physician will decide which screening test is best for you.
Screening tests will be able to detect prostate cancer before symptoms develop. Later-stage prostate cancers tend to cause specific symptoms, listed below:
- Bloody urine or semen
- Difficulty having an erection
- Difficulty starting to urinate or inability to urinate
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
- Painful or burning urination
- Sudden urges to urinate
- Weak or stop-and-start urine flow
It is important to note that these symptoms can also occur with prostate inflammation or infections, which are also very common for men. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please contact your nearest Southcoast Health location- we’ll decide which test is best for you so we can determine the cause of your symptoms and begin any necessary treatments.
Prostate Cancer Screenings at Southcoast Health
At Southcoast Health, we offer prostate cancer screenings to promote early detection and successful treatment of this disease. Our screenings can detect prostate cancer before it spreads beyond the prostate, and then we will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Please speak with your primary care provider to learn more about your screening options.
If you have any risk factors or are experiencing possible symptoms of prostate cancer, please do not hesitate to trust your cancer prevention & treatment to one of our doctors at our primary care locations in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Schedule an appointment or contact us today for more information.