As you get older, keeping up with your health becomes much more important. That’s why it’s vital to get the health screenings that can identify serious illnesses, perhaps long become they become severe cases.
For men, the most prevalent form of cancer is prostate cancer, with 3 million cases occurring in the U.S. every year. Fortunately, it can often be diagnosed early in men who undergo a prostate exam.
We’ve asked Dr. Clark Wilson, a board-certified urologist at UT Health East Texas in Tyler, to answer some of the more common questions about prostate cancer.
I just turned 45. Is it time to get my prostate checked?
The American Cancer Society recommends that screenings begin in most men around age 50. However, men at higher risk, such African American men or men with a father or brother who had prostate cancer, should talk with their doctor about getting screened at age 45.
What tests are done for prostate cancer screening?
Prostate cancer screening usually consists of a simple blood test called a PSA (prostate specific antigen) and a digital rectal examination.
Should I wait to have a screening until I have symptoms?
Prostate cancer does not usually produce symptoms (like difficulty urinating) until it is fairly advanced, so we recommend that men get a screening even when there no symptoms.
What can be done if I am diagnosed with prostate cancer?
There are many ways to treat prostate cancer. Some men with low-risk cancer will be placed on surveillance – which means they do not get active treatment unless their disease progresses. This is an excellent option for many men.
For men with a more aggressive version of the disease located only in the prostate gland, the most common treatments are surgery and radiation therapy.
Other treatment options include high-intensity ultrasound, freezing of the prostate gland and radioactive seed placement into the prostate. For men with prostate cancer that is spread out beyond the prostate gland, the initial treatment is usually hormone injections and may include chemotherapy and oral medications.
If you would like to undergo a prostate cancer screening, please speak first with your primary care physician. You can also schedule an appointment with Dr. Clark Wilson, urologist with UT Health East Texas Urology in Tyler by calling 903-262-3900.
Dr. Wilson is fellowship trained in robotic surgery, has a particular interest in nerve-sparing robotic prostatectomy and has published extensively on the surgical management of prostate cancer.