Free Prostate Screening Event Coming Up
By Dr. Robert Lewe
Do you know if you’re at risk for prostate cancer?
The prostate is a small gland found only in men, about the shape of a walnut, which produces some of the fluid that makes up semen. In 2015, the National Cancer Institute estimates that 220,800 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making up about 13.3 percent of all new cancer cases diagnosed. It’s also estimated that 27,540 men will die from prostate cancer.
The good news about prostate cancer is the progress we’ve made in treating and curing it. The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer from 2005 to 2011 is 98.9 percent. That means prostate cancer is one of the most treatable cancers known to medicine.
If we are going to successfully treat prostate cancer, we have to know about it first. That takes proper screening and diagnostic testing. It also takes men knowing what their risk factors are and talking to their doctor about what they can do to stay healthy. To help with this, Owensboro Health will be offering a free screening opportunity from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 at the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, located at 1020 Breckenridge Street in Owensboro. To make an appointment for this screening, call 270-685-7100.
Prostate cancer screening is a two-part process and research shows that doing only one of these at a time is less effective than doing both. These screening tests include:
- PSA blood test: A simple blood test allows us to screen for prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Elevated levels of this protein can be an indicator that a biopsy should be done to check for prostate cancer. Over the years our guidelines for this test have changed. We use age-adjusted standards, since normal levels of PSA in the blood change as a man ages.
- Digital rectal exam: By inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum, a physician can feel the prostate for certain indicators that there might be a problem, such as a change in the shape or consistency of the prostate.
The American Urological Association has a set of guidelines that men should know about so they can be appropriately screened for prostate cancer.
- Screening is NOT recommended for men under the age of 40.
- For men between the ages of 40 and 54, prostate cancer is only recommended for African-American men (who are at higher risk of this cancer) and for men with a close relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- The American Urological Association’s guidelines show that men between the ages of 55-69 can benefit the most from prostate screening. I typically show a short educational video at screening events and then discuss risk factors and the benefits of screening. I am also more than happy to answer any questions that my patients might have.
- Screening is not recommended for men 70 or older, or for men with a life expectancy of less than 10 years. There are exceptions to this, and men should ask their doctor if they might still benefit from the screening given their health and family history, especially men whose families tend to have longer life expectancy.
Screening is recommended because prostate cancer is extremely treatable, thanks to advances in both surgical techniques and the use of radiation treatments. Treatments today are more effective and less likely to cause side effects, and there are a wide variety of available treatment options within the areas of surgery and radiation therapy.
If you have questions about prostate cancer and what you can do to reduce your risks and stay healthy, talk to your doctor. You can also visit the website of the American Urological Association at www.auanet.org for more information.
You’re invited to take advantage of the free prostate screening event from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 at the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, located at 1020 Breckenridge Street in Owensboro. To make an appointment for this screening, call 270-685-7100.
Dr. Robert Lewe is a board certified urologist with One Health Urology. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 844-44-MY-ONE (844-446-9663).
This article previously appeared in the Living Well column in the Health section of the Sept. 10, 2015 edition of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.