We are in the thick of Movember, and there’s one important thing we need to discuss: going in for regular physical check up’s on a regular basis. Yes, even and especially, a prostate exam. We get it—seeing a doctor is not anyone’s favorite activity. Because the idea of letting someone get too close to your nether regions while you’re in a cold exam room with a medical gown is a daunting thought for, well, any man. So we’re here to break down some common myths. Let’s break down the facts about what it’s really like as well as why it’s so important. There’s not need to “Fear the Rear” and here’s why.
Myth #1: The only way to get tested is with a physical exam
Actually there are two different tests that doctors will give depending on the patient and their medical history.
The physical screening, a digital rectal exam or DRE. A doctor uses a gloved, lubricated finger to examine the lower rectum. This is where the prostate is located. The doctor feels for any abnormalities (lumps, enlarged gland, etc). The doctor performs the exam without any medication (sorry guys). Why? Because it’s generally not painful and only takes a few minutes.
The other method is a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen test or PSA. The doctors draws a sample of blood. Then a lab measures the levels of levels of PSA in your blood. High PSA levels can signal a problem like an enlarged, infected prostate or cancer. Some men with prostate cancer can have low levels of PSA. This can also bea sign of other medical issues if men are overweight or obese. As a result, a second blood test may be needed.
Myth #2: If you have prostate cancer nothing can be done to fix it
Early screening results in early detection and treatment. The men who really benefit from the test are as young as 40. If a PSA test suggests cancer, early detection often leads to being cured of it.