Baltimore Orioles baseball legend and Hall of Fame shortstop, Cal Ripken Jr., received a prostate cancer diagnosis in February and is now, thankfully, cancer free. Ripken was 59 when he visited his urologist for a routine screening, and at the time he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms of prostate cancer.
“There was no reason for me to think I had any issues,” Ripken was quoted as saying.
Many of us have understandably put off routine health checks and regular doctor visits in recent months. But now, it’s time to get back on track and take charge of your health. After all, as we know from Ripken’s journey, detecting prostate cancer early is vital to successfully treating it and keeping you well.
- Limiting visitors in many areas
- Isolating symptomatic COVID-19 patients
- Practicing social distancing
- Performing temperature checks on all staff and visitors
- Wearing masks at all times
Catching Prostate Cancer Early Can Save Your Life
While it largely develops in older men, prostate cancer can happen at any age. In fact, it’s the second cause of cancer death among men. Although that’s a startling statistic, the good news is that most men diagnosed with prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, can survive it. That’s why detecting this slow-growing cancer early, when it’s most treatable, is so important. We have some helpful tips that can help guide you.
When to Consider Prostate Cancer Screening
Although the medical community agrees it’s a good idea, there really isn’t a hard and fast rule on when prostate cancer screenings should start, or which screening methods should be used. It’s ultimately up to you and your primary care physician (PCP) to talk about your prostate cancer risk and to create a screening plan that’s right for you.
Since prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms, especially in early stages, the American Cancer Society offers suggestions on when conversations about prostate cancer screening should begin as a general rule. But if you do experience any of these symptoms, you should talk with your doctor right away:
- Back pain
- Blood in your urine
- Changes in your urine flow or frequency
- Pain while urinating
- Pelvic pain
When no symptoms are present, you should talk with your doctor about prostate cancer screening at:
- Age 40 for men at high risk (family history of prostate cancer, especially more than on close relative)
- Age 45 for other high-risk men (African Americans or those with one close relative with prostate cancer)
- Age 50 for men at average risk
Prostate Cancer Screening
There are a number of screening options available to help detect prostate cancer, including:
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): Allows your doctor to check your prostate for lumps (polyps) or anything unusual.
- Prostate-Specific Antigen Test: Checks for an increased PSA level, which could be a sign of infection, inflammation or an enlarged prostate.
- Prostate Cancer Gene 3 RNA Test: Measures the amount of PCA3 RNA in your urine.
We’re Ready When You’re Ready
Talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screening and take charge of your health today. If you’re in need of a primary care doctor, the physicians at AdventHealth are here to help at our many convenient locations.