September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Awareness and Information Combine to Reduce Risk
It has been estimated that more than 2.5 million American men are living with prostate cancer and that 1 in 7 men will be affected by this disease in their lifetime. Chattanooga urologist Dr. Shridharani recognizes the importance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, but also the value of continuing the conversation regarding prostate cancer throughout the year.
The prostate is positioned in front of the rectum and below the bladder, where it surrounds the urethra. It is the prostate gland that is responsible for semen production. This is a small organ, only about the size of a walnut. Prostate cancer develops when abnormal prostate cells grow. Because symptoms may not result from abnormal cell growth, screenings are recommended for men older than 50 years of age or who have particular risk factors, such as a family member having prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Doctors typically screen for prostate cancer using two standard tests. One is a digital rectal exam, which manually palpates the prostate gland from inside the rectum to assess the size and texture of the organ. PSA screening is also a typical test, performed to measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Studies suggest that abnormal prostate cell growth increases the amount of PSA.
Does high PSA confirm prostate cancer?
Blood work that indicates higher than normal PSA is only one measurement that may indicate prostate cancer. However, there may be other reasons that prostate-specific antigen becomes elevated. In the instance of a high PSA, doctors may order additional tests such as biopsy or ultrasound, or both.
Ultrasound imaging produces a clear image of the prostate gland by emitting sound waves into the tissue. This test can display the size of the prostate, details of surrounding structures, and identify abnormal growth. Biopsy of the prostate may follow an ultrasound to confirm or rule out the presence of cancer cells.
Early Detection of Abnormal Prostate Cell Growth is Ideal
The clear advantage of an early diagnosis of prostate cancer is that it can improve a patient’s prognosis. Additionally, men who are diagnosed early may also have more options for treatment.
If you are experiencing prostate symptoms, such as urinary difficulty, or you have risk factors for prostate cancer, there is no time like the present to schedule your screening. Call our Chattanooga office at 423-778-4MEN.