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Routine Prostate Exam: What You Should Expect

By    |   Monday, 16 May 2016 05:16 PM

It is important for men to get routine prostate exams to check for abnormalities that could signal prostate cancer. Knowing what to expect from such an exam can make the experience easier.

Generally, there are two tests that are used to screen for prostate cancer, the digital rectal exam (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test,  Everyday Health noted.

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The digital rectal exam is a prostate exam that is done manually by your physician, and there is no special preparation required, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. However, you should tell your doctor if you have hemorrhoids since the DRE can cause rectal bleeding. The exam takes only a few minutes, and you will need to undress from the waist down.

To begin the prostate exam, you will either be asked to lie on your side on the exam table in a fetal position with knees drawn into your chest or you can be standing and bent over at the waist. The physician will insert a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum and locate the prostate gland. It is helpful to take a few deep breaths and do your best to relax during the prostate exam, the ASCO said. The physician will feel for any lumps or abnormalities on the prostate gland. During the exam, you may feel discomfort or the need to urinate. Pain during the DRE is rare, but can occur if you have an enlarged prostate gland.

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The other test that is part of the prostate cancer screening protocol, the PSA, is simply a blood test that measures the levels of a protein in the blood called prostate-specific antigen. This protein is produced normally by the prostate, and small amounts of it are normal. However, cancerous cells in the gland produce PSA faster and may elevate the levels detected in the blood. Elevated PSA levels do not always indicate cancer since they can also occur in men who have enlarged prostate, Mayo Clinic said. For this reason and because the PSA has a high false-positive rate, it is often interpreted in combination with results from the DRE.

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It is important for men to get routine prostate exams to check for abnormalities that could signal prostate cancer. Knowing what to expect from such an exam can make the experience easier.
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2016-16-16
Monday, 16 May 2016 05:16 PM
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