Turning 50 years of age is a big accomplishment, and it might be one that you celebrate with a party or trip. This milestone also serves as a reminder that it's time to schedule a prostate exam with your doctor. Fifty is a good age to have regular checkups for prostate abnormalities, although the American Cancer Society recommends having this procedure done even sooner if if you have a history of prostate cancer in your family. You might feel a little shy about having this exam, given the way fun is poked at it in comedy movies and sitcoms. Prostate cancer, however, is no laughing matter, and you won't regret visiting your doctor to have your prostate checked. Here are some reasons to book this checkup.
Early Detection Is Key
When a medical professional can catch prostate cancer early, there's a high probability of it being successfully treated. Often, a cancerous prostate will be removed through surgery, which can allow the man to get back to his normal life without worrying that the cancer may have spread. Early detection for this type of cancer is key — screening checkups have dropped the number of deaths as a result of prostate cancer by about one-third.
It's Not As Unpleasant As You Might Think
Many men steer clear of scheduling a prostate checkup because they're concerned that it will be uncomfortable and embarrassing. While you might indeed feel a little nervous about the digital exam, it is over extremely quickly. Additionally, because your doctor likely performs many of these exams throughout the week, he or she knows how to do so in a calm and confident manner that can help to put your mind at ease. The other part of a standard prostate checkup is a blood test that will be used to determine whether you have elevated levels of PSA, or prostate specific antigen, in your blood. You've probably had blood tests in the past, so there's nothing to worry about here.
Prostate Cancer Often Has No Symptoms
You might be telling yourself that you'll wait until you notice problematic symptoms and then book a checkup. However, prostate cancer often has no symptoms, which is all the more reason to visit your doctor proactively. Whereas other health complications can be evident because of a wide range of associated symptoms, many people with prostate cancer will show no symptoms until the cancer reaches its later stages.