Most men don’t think about their prostate until it causes a problem. Unfortunately, prostate cancer can be very stealthy—silently growing without causing any symptoms. In fact, by the time any discomfort or urinary symptoms appear, prostate cancer becomes very difficult to cure.
Countless articles and websites advise men “what to look out for.” This advice may be a disservice to men at risk for prostate cancer. Although you should seek evaluation by your physician for any change in your urinary habits, proper screening with a simple blood test prior to experiencing any symptoms is the key to successful prostate cancer treatment.
Starting at age 40, all men should learn when and how often they should have a prostate cancer screening using a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test. Although opinions differ, most experts agree that the average man without specific risk factors would benefit from yearly screening at age 50. Men with one risk factor should start at age 45, and men with two or more should start at age 40.
Black men have a higher risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer. Other risk factors include a family history of prostate or breast cancer. When family history is unclear, an initial PSA prior to age 50 may be reasonable. After all, an elevated PSA is a risk factor for prostate cancer. Look for my article, “Men’s Bladder Health Should Be a Daytime Job,” in the next issue.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at Wellstar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with Wellstar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years. Wellstar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA Wellstar North Fulton Hospital • (470) 956-4230 • ScottDMillerMD.com