Prostate cancer screening vital, as symptoms can go unnoticed

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer in American men, behind only skin cancer. The more a man knows and understands what prostate cancer is and knows what he is dealing with, the more he can improve his chances of recovery.

You need to start getting tested once you reach the age of 40. One of the problems with prostate cancer is that you may not notice the symptoms.

“We tend to find prostate cancer when either there is a nodule on your prostate in an exam, or we have a blood test that may be elevated,” Dr. Alex Berry of Holyoke Medical Center said.

The blood test is called a PSA, and it should be performed by your doctor. But what should men be looking for?

“Most of the time, they’re not going to have any symptoms. The issue with prostate cancer is having a discussion with their primary care, making sure that the PSA test is performed so they have an idea if it’s elevated or not,” Berry said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 14% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime.  It can be deadly, but if it’s discovered in its early stages, it has a 98.9% survival rate.

“Most prostate cancer is very treatable. Over the past few years, we’ve changed a little bit in how we treat prostate cancer. Nowadays if you have a touch of prostate cancer, we may decide it’s better to watch that prostate cancer and choose to intervene only if it progresses.” Berry said.

Starting at age 40, men need to have yearly exams to assess what is going on with their prostate.

Above all, talk to your doctor. Not getting screened could mean you could miss your opportunity to catch any changes before it’s too late.