The prostate is a gland in men the size of a walnut that increases in size after age 40. It is located between the bladder and rectum and surrounds the urethra and functions to help produce semen. Most men after age 40 will develop enlargement of the gland, which is why it’s important to get it checked regularly to catch problems early.
The most common issues with the prostate involve an array of symptoms, but some men do not have any external symptoms, which is why an annual exam after age 50 is recommended. Enlargement of the gland has three main causes:
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. One in every seven men will be diagnosed with this particular cancer. While age is the biggest risk factor for prostate cancer, ethnicity, family history and gene mutations also play a role. With early detection, prostate cancer can be successfully treated.
Clint Cheng, MD, primary care physician at St. Joseph Health Primary Care Barron Road, shares that “especially after age 50, all men should be diligent in seeing their physician for a simple annual exam and evaluation.” The exam involves a Digital Rectal Exam to determine the size of the gland. A common blood test or PSA test is another test used to detect prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Ask your physician which test is right for you.
Are you overdue for a prostate exam? Schedule an appointment with a St. Joseph Health primary care physician to take care of your important screenings by calling 979.774.2121 or requesting an appointment online.
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