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Nerve Wracking But Simple: Digital Prostate Exam

A prostate cancer exam is extremely important for men who have reached the age of forty to get each year. These digital prostate exams allow doctors to monitor the prostate and check for any abnormalities on it so that it can be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. These digital prostate exams are nerve wracking for most men, since it is not what anyone would want to do if they can avoid it.

However, with the exam, prostate cancer can usually be detected at the early stages and treated successfully. If there is not a regular exam, the cancer could have spread to other areas of the body before it is detected and is often too late to do anything to solve the problem.

Checking in

A digital prostate exam sounds like it should involve a camera or some device. However, the word ‘digital’ stands for ‘digit’ meaning the finger. The doctor uses his finger to feel through the rectal wall for the prostate. The lobes of a healthy prostate are smooth and shaped similarly to each other. The doctor is able to feel all but the back of the prostate during the exam. Those men who are forty and have to begin these digital prostate exams only have to do the exam until he is fifty, when he also has to do the PSA blood test.

The PSA blood test measures for a particular enzyme that is in the blood which is produced by the prostate gland. Healthy prostate cells will only produce levels of zero to four. Cancerous cells will usually produce levels of between ten to twenty.

If there are any abnormalities that are detected in the prostate either through the blood test or through the digital prostate exam, then the individual will need to be tested further to see if it is cancer or some other problem.

If it is not cancer, these abnormal results can often be from a urinary tract infection or a urinary retention issue. It can also mean that there are stones in the prostate or that the man has had a recent surgery in the prostate or a biopsy of the prostate gland. There could also be the issue of an enlarged prostate that is not due to cancer, but is due to some sort of infection in the area. Once the root of the issue has been diagnosed, then the physician will recommend a treatment program for the individual to get the problem solved as quickly as possible. If the man has had problems with his prostate in the past, he will usually be required to have a prostate exam and blood test on a more regular basis than annually.

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