Baptist Health Corbin: Screening for Prostate Cancer
Urologist Raymond Hackett, MD, discusses the annual prostate exam, emphasizing the importance of detecting prostate cancer early, before symptoms begin to appear.
Screening for Prostate Cancer HealthTalks Transcript
Raymond Hackett, MD, Urology
Prostate cancer is very common. Folks that get prostate cancer in their 50s and 60s, the cancer can, you know, markedly change their life. If it’s localized to the prostate, very treatable — either radical surgery or radiation therapy has a very high success rate. You need to catch it early, before it develops symptoms. If you know that you have it, it’s way too late. If you go into urinary retention, the whole gland is full of cancer and probably has gone somewhere else. The way you test for prostate cancer is with the physical exam, when you feel the prostate, and the prostate-specific antigen, which is a blood test. A rectal exam is part of a standard, annual physical exam. Men should get a prostate exam once a year. You really have to get it before you’re symptomatic. It’s kind of like, why do you change your oil every 3,000 miles? You don’t want your engine making noise, because noise is not good. It is pretty much up to the patient’s primary care doctor and their urologist about when they order PSAs or if they order PSAs. Personally, I like PSA. I got mine when I was 50, and I get it annually.