Importance Of Regular Prostrate Examination

Importance Of Regular Prostrate Examination
 - Hyderabad

Urologist

Hyderabad   |   21 Jun 2024

Why are regular prostate exams important?

The prostate in male body can be effected with cancer which is one of the most common types of cancer in men, can get inflamed called as the prostatitis or become enlarged called as benign prostatic hyperplasia. 

The importance of getting regular prostate examinations cannot be over stated. 

  • When prostate cancer is diagnosed in early stages it is highly treatable. However most prostate cancer stages get diagnosed in later stages which are life threatening. Hence it is necessary to check for early sings of prostate cancer to prevent adverse outcomes.
  • The risk of prostate cancer is high in individuals older than fifty years of age. The risk also relatively increases every year after fifty. 
  • There are no symptoms in early stages of Prostate cancer. Since the gland is relatively smaller in size even in the initial few stages of prostate cancer there are no noticeable symptoms. Only in the advanced stages of prostate cancer there are signs like pelvic pain, difficulty in passing urine and blood in semen. 
  • There is a high genetic component to prostate cancer. Having a family member who is diagnosed with this indicate higher risks of developing prostate cancer in the rest of members.
  • If not cancer, regular screenings give insight into changes in the prostate gland. Benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlargement of prostate gland or prostatitis often present with discomfort and difficulty in urination. These conditions can be managed when diagnosed early.

At what age should men start getting regular prostate exams?

Every man over the age of fifty should get a prostate examination done at least yearly. In case of familial history, getting regular examinations of prostate can begin as early as forty years. 

What can be expected during a prostate exam?

There are two types of prostate exams that can be done. 
1. PSA blood test

For prostate specific antigen blood test, a sample of the blood drawn is sent for laboratory analysis.  The lab analysis the amount of prostate specific antigen in the blood. This however cannot be the only way to determine if someone has prostate cancer or doesn’t. However irregularities ij this easure necessitate further imaging studies like MRI or Prostate biopsy. 

2. Digital rectal exam (DRE)

Digital rectal exam is the most common way to check the prostate health in men. For a Digital rectal exam, you will be asked to either bend at the pelvis over the examination table or be asked to lie down in a side ways fetal position with keens tucked in. 

Then the physician uses a gloved and lubricated finger to feel for changes in the prostate via inserting the examination finger into the rectum. 

The posterior region of the gland is examined for lumps or bumps during a Digital rectal exam which can be an indication of cancer. 

Following these prostate exams, based on the results further tests are done in case of abnormality and a treatment plan is initiated. Even when the tests are negative for prostate diseases, the examinations should be redone periodically.

Pre examination preparation for Digital rectal exam:

There is no indication for any king of preparation for getting a Digital rectal exam. There is no need to empty your bowels for this. There can be subtle discomfort during the procedure but it is important to emphasize its necessity for early detection of prostate cancers. 

This examination is not painful and hence does not require any anesthesia. However presence of hemorrhoids or fissures should be communicated with the physician to avoid pain and complications. 

Are there any risks or side effects associated with prostate exams?

There aren’t any such risks or side effects when a prostate exam is performed. However, if there is a false positive test when a prostate exam is performed, it can lead to unnecessary anxiety or unwarranted biopsies and MRIs. 

What can be done to reduce the risk of prostate cancer?

When it comes to any cancer, including prostate cancer there are some factors like genes that are inherited and age that cannot be modified. Prostate cancer is heavily linked with aging and there is a huge genetic proponent to its formation. However, some things that can be done as part of risk reduction is consuming a healthy diet and getting regular exercise all the while avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption. Recognizing familial history and starting with regular prostate cancer screenings with timely repetition is necessary. 

Conclusion

Depending on when the prostate cancer is diagnosed and the type of cancer, there are several treatment options for this disease. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and focal therapy to freeze and remove the affected tissue can all be done to improve outcomes. These require expert diagnosis and treatment planning. The prognosis of any disease related to prostate is largely dependant on the earliest possible recognition. Getting regular prostate exams in men after fifty years of age is hence important. 

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