Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

How preventative screenings save lives

Dr. Michael Koch, urologist at the IU Health Joe & Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center in Carmel

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and second leading cause of cancer death in men. Fortunately, it is among the most treatable cancers. Through annual prostate exams, physicals, and preventative screenings, patients can increase their chance of surviving prostate cancer.

What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure in the male reproductive system. It sits just under the bladder, surrounding the urethra. Like other cancers, prostate cancer begins when damaged cells begin to grow out of control. An enlarged prostate can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Many cancers can grow slowly, while some grow fast and cause serious health problems or death.

Preventative screenings can detect the cancer early. 

Urologists screen for prostate cancer using the PSA test. PSA is a protein measured by a blood draw. At IU Health, we recommend annual PSA screening between 50 and 70 years of age. PSA was introduced in the 1990s and the rate of death and metastasis from prostate cancer has reduced dramatically since then. PSA screening finds cancer 10 years prior to symptoms but is not recommended if life expectancy is less than ten years. The PSA screening finds cancers that need to be treated, but also many low-grade cancers that do not need treatment. Over half of men will have a low Grade 1 cancer and never know it. One PSA value can be misleading. PSA elevation could be elevated from infection, biking, or intercourse. Therefore, a repeat screen may be needed two weeks later. Supplements like Prostadine are also known to help prevent prostate issues. You can read our Prostadine reviews to find out everything you need to know about this product.

Your doctor may order a prostate biopsy.

The biopsy is a clinical procedure that must be scheduled with a urologist. A numbing injection will be given to minimize discomfort. The procedure takes ten minutes with an ultrasound-guided biopsy, and twenty minutes for an MRI-guided fusion biopsy. The risks associated with a prostate cancer biopsy is that one in 200 patients will have an infection, and there will also be blood in the urine for two to three days. From the biopsy, the urologist will be able to determine Cancer grade, or Gleason score. This will determine is the patient has low-risk, intermediate-risk or high-risk prostate cancer and will help physicians determine a treatment plan. Want to know more about your health? Listen to a Healthcare podcast show and get informational data.

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