Once men reach middle age, like testing for high blood pressure issues, prostate screenings become necessary due to the increased risk that they will develop prostate cancer. The earlier you detect this form of cancer the more likely it is that you will be able to get adequate treatment and survive the disease. If your doctor has mentioned that you are at the age where prostate cancer screenings are necessary then you need to discuss how often it will be appropriate to get tested and what you can do to make sure you lower your risk of developing cancer.
Pros and Cons
Prostate cancer screenings are often recommended because they help guarantee that you detect any cancerous developments early when it is more treatable and more likely to be cured. Most often this is done with a simple blood test that is inexpensive and easy to conduct. Since these screenings have become widely available the number of deaths from prostate cancer has gone down significantly, adding to the belief that this exam is beneficial and necessary for those who have a predisposition toward the disease.
Some would consider one of the largest benefits of having a prostate screening done the peace of mind. Regular screenings let you know that you do not have cancer or the signs of developing prostate cancer which will allow you to put these worries out of your mind. If you are showing signs of cancer regular screenings give you more of an opportunity to treat the problem surgically without having to resort to radiation or other severe cancer treatments. If you know someone or have a family history of prostate cancer this peace of mind can be worth a great deal.
On the other hand, it is very easy for prostate screening tests to show elevated levels that are false. This is not common and a second test usually reveals the error but this can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety that could otherwise be avoided. Many forms of prostate cancer are not known to spread out of the gland, but the worry that you have a life-threatening disease can cloud your judgment when you are trying to make important decisions regarding your health. Some doctors recommend those who do not have a high risk of developing cancer avoid getting annual screenings that may only cause stress.
Awareness and Considerations
If your test shows increased numbers this does not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. There are circumstances that cause prostate enlargement that are not a threat to your overall health. You can also be suffering from an infection which will need treatment, but is usually not life threatening. There are also cases when other conditions throughout your body cause you to throw a “false-positive” which indicates that you are showing the signs of prostate cancer when there is actually nothing wrong. Before assuming you have a serious issue with your prostate, talk with your doctor about what your results mean and what you should do about them.
Getting prostate cancer screenings is a very personal exam that can bring up nervous or uncomfortable feelings. Your overall health, heredity, age and family history will all play into whether or not you run a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Ultimately, you will need to talk with your doctor about how you feel about getting a prostate exam and how often such measures will be appropriate. If you constantly show good numbers then your doctor may determine annual screenings are not necessary, but this is a decision that you cannot make without someone with medical expertise to guide you.