Information for Patients
Prostate Cancer Screening
The prostate is the gland below a man's bladder that produces fluid for semen. Cancer screening is looking for cancer before you have any symptoms. Cancer found early may be easier to treat.
There is no standard screening test for prostate cancer. Researchers are studying different tests to find those with the fewest risks and most benefits. One test is the digital rectal exam (DRE). The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to feel the prostate for lumps or anything unusual. Another test is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Your PSA level may be high if you have prostate cancer. It can also be high if you have an enlarged prostate (BPH) or other prostate problems. If your screening results are abnormal, your doctor may do more tests, such as an ultrasound, MRI, or a biopsy.
Prostate cancer screening has risks:
- Finding prostate cancer may not improve your health or help you live longer
- The results can sometimes be wrong
- Follow-up tests, such as a biopsy, may have complications
You and your doctor should discuss your risk for prostate cancer, the pros and cons of the screening tests, and whether you should get them.
The prostate is a gland in men. It helps make semen, the fluid that contains sperm. The prostate surrounds the tube that carries urine away from the bladder and out of the body. A young man's prostate is about the size of a walnut. It slowly grows larger with age. If it gets too large, it can cause problems. This is very common after age 50. The older men get, the more likely they are to have prostate trouble.
Some common problems are
- Prostatitis - inflammation, usually caused by bacteria
- Enlarged prostate (BPH), or benign prostatic hyperplasia - a common problem in older men which may cause dribbling after urination or a need to go often, especially at night
- Prostate cancer - a common cancer that responds best to treatment when detected early
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Prostate Problems The prostate is a small gland in men that helps make semen. Located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, it wraps around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body.