If you’ve never had a prostate exam and are booked for one soon, you may feel a little apprehensive. You may also feel nervous even if you’ve had one before, and that’s totally normal. The best way to feel prepared is to go into your prostate exam knowing what to expect. Today, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know before your next—or first—prostate exam.
What is the prostate, and why are examinations performed on them?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland near the bladder in males, and its role is to assist in seminal fluid production. A prostate examination will allow your doctor to check that your prostate is healthy, as like any other area of your body, it can become inflamed if there is a problem. Such screenings are extremely important as prostate cancer is the second-highest type of cancer among American men. It can be scary to go for a check-up that is looking for something as unnerving as cancer, but the earlier a problem is identified, the less of a worry it needs to be in your life.
What is the recommended age for a prostate examination?
According to the American Cancer Society, the following groups of people should receive a prostate exam:
- Males aged 50 or over, who are at average risk of developing prostate cancer and have a life expectancy of at least another decade. (This is most men.)
- Males aged 45 who have a first-degree relative (i.e. your father) diagnosed with prostate before the age of 65, and African American men over 45.
- Males aged 40 or over with more than one first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer early on in life. (Such as a father and brother.)
What can I expect from a prostate exam?
The prostate exam usually involves a test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate which enters the bloodstream in small amounts. This particular test involves taking a blood sample to ascertain how much PSA the patient has in their blood. In some cases of prostate cancer, patients’ blood can show high levels of PSA.
The test also involves a digital rectal exam (DRE). Here’s what to expect from your DRE:
During the exam, you’ll be asked to undress from the waist down, lie on your side and pull your knees close to your chest. You can also bend forward if you’d prefer to stand. The practitioner will insert a lubricated, gloved finger inside the rectum to examine the prostate gland for any abnormalities.
The examination might feel uncomfortable, but it should take less than a minute, and you’ll be able to resume your regular activities straight after.
Your doctor will be able to flag anything unusual about your prostate straight away, and if there are, they’ll let you know if any further treatment is needed. They should share the results immediately after your examination so there’s no need to wait around and worry.
Apurva Advanced Medical Care
At Apurva Advanced Medical Care, we take the time to listen and be there for all our patients’ medical needs. We take a genuine interest in every patient’s unique needs, and we know that each individual needs a treatment bespoke for them.
If you know it’s time to book your next, or first, prostate exam, don’t wait. Our friendly and professional doctors will put you at ease and complete your examination quickly. To contact us today for more information or to book your appointment, click here.