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Forty or More: Prostate Exam Age


The digital prostate exam is normally administered to men who have reached the age of forty. The prostate exam age is lowered if there has been a history of problems for the man who is supposed to get an exam. There is also a PSA blood test that is administered to men who have reached the prostate exam age of fifty or more, since this blood test is more specific than the physical exam and more able to detect cancer than the physical exam.

There are some men who have reached the prostate exam age but choose to ignore getting the test done. They usually are uncomfortable with the way that the test is administered, going through the rectum to feel for the prostate gland. However, it is important to heed the prostate exam age because it helps the doctors to detect any abnormalities in the prostate at an early stage rather than when the abnormalities have progressed, causing more physical problems.

Diagnosis

The primary care physician or urologist will usually be the doctor who does the prostate exam. In the exam, the doctor will go through the rectum and feel with his finger for the prostate. The walls of the rectum are thin which enables the doctor to feel the prostate through the walls. The prostate is usually formed of two lobes that are of approximately equal size and shape. The surface of the prostate is usually very smooth in texture, which makes it easy for the doctor to detect any abnormalities on it.

The PSA blood test measures the amount of a certain enzyme in the blood which is produced by the normal cells in the prostate but even more so by the cancer cells, if there are any in the prostate. A normal level of the enzyme falls between zero to four. A cancerous level falls between ten to twenty, although in some cases it can be as high as one hundred or more.

If there is an abnormality found in either of the tests, then the man will have to undergo further tests to see what the root of the issue is. Higher levels of the enzyme or abnormalities that are felt on the prostate can mean several things besides cancer. It can mean a urinary tract infection, stones in the prostate, recent surgery, another type of infection, or urinary retention. The tests that the doctor’s will perform after an abnormality has been detected in the prostate will narrow down the root of the problem and allow them to consider what treatment is needed.


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