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Published on August 24, 2017

What to Expect During a Prostate Cancer Screening

As we recognize Prostate Cancer Awareness Month this September, Pardee is offering free prostate cancer screenings to men ages 40 to 75. Learn more about the screening events here.

Prostate cancer screenings can detect prostate cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages before you have any symptoms. The screening includes both a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam. Your urologist or primary care doctor can perform the screening.

The PSA blood test

The PSA blood test looks at the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. The prostate releases tiny amounts of PSA into your bloodstream and the blood test can detect when your PSA levels are too high, which could indicate prostate cancer or other prostate-related problems.

Every man is different, so what’s normal for you may be abnormal for your friend, and vice versa. If your physician notices a significant increase in your PSA level one year, even if it isn’t considered “high,” it could be a sign of prostate cancer. That’s why we encourage you to “know your number” so you can be aware if it changes.

Keep in mind, the PSA blood test isn’t perfect. Other prostate issues can raise PSA levels, so have a conversation with your doctor about what’s normal and healthy for you.

The digital rectal exam

A digital rectal exam involves your doctor inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to check the prostate for abnormalities in texture, size and shape. The exam can be slightly uncomfortable, but it isn’t painful, and only lasts a few moments. Doctors perform these exams all the time, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed — it’s simply part of keeping you well.

If you are a man between the ages of 40 and 75 and you haven’t had a prostate cancer screening in the last nine months or ever been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be eligible for a free prostate cancer screening at the Pardee Cancer Center. Click here to learn more.