Exam Time

Knowing when it’s time for a prostate cancer screening is important for men, especially if they have risk factors for the disease. 

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men, with one in seven men being diagnosed with the disease. It is also the third leading cause of cancer-related death in men.

“Most prostate cancer is diagnosed through screening tests, but when to begin screening depends on a lot of factors,” said Kathy Ravanbakhsh, D.O., FACOS, chief of urology at CHI St. Joseph Health. “A physician must take into account one’s presenting symptoms, physical exam, and personal risk factors. It is also important to discuss risks, benefits and limitations of global screening with patients. A timely diagnosis gives the patient and physician many options for treatment.”

Most types of prostate cancer grow slowly and can be treated successfully when caught early, but the right time for a prostate exam and blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) can vary. Some men may not require an exam until they are 55, while others should be screened as early as age 40. Risk factors for prostate cancer include age, family history, race and ethnicity.

“There are genetic predispositions among African-Americans, and having an immediate family member with the disease can double the risk of prostate cancer,”
Dr. Ravanbakhsh said. “Depending on one’s history, a patient may require screening every year or every two years.”

Patients and physicians should work closely together to determine risk factors and proper exam schedules. A comprehensive prostate cancer screening includes both a blood test for PSA and a physical digital rectal exam (DRE).

Have questions or need to schedule a screening? Call 979-774-3041 to schedule a doctor’s appointment with CHI St. Joseph Health Urology Associates.