Prostate cancer is a disease that primarily affects men over the age of 50. While prostate cancer is not the most common form of cancer, it is still important for all men over 50 to be aware of the risks and understand their options when it comes to testing and treatment. Here are some tips for elderly men who are considering having a prostate cancer test.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the prostate gland grow out of control. The prostate is a gland located between the bladder and the penis that produces a fluid that helps nourish sperm. While most cases of prostate cancer are slow growing, if left untreated, some forms can be aggressive and spread to other parts of the body.
Discuss Your Options with Your Doctor
The first step in determining if you should have a prostate cancer test is speaking with your doctor. A good place to start is by asking questions about your personal risk factors, such as whether there is a family history of prostate cancer or if you have any other health conditions that could increase your risk. Once you’ve discussed your personal risk factors, you can talk to your doctor about what type of tests they recommend based on those factors, such as a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA).
The Signs of Prostate Cancer
There are several signs of prostate cancer that you should be aware of as a senior. These include frequent urination, a weak urine stream, difficulty starting or stopping urination, blood in the urine, pain during urination or ejaculation, pain in the lower back, hips, or pelvis area, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away.
Understand the Risks and Benefits
It’s also important for you to understand the potential risks and benefits associated with each type of test. The DRE involves inserting a finger into the rectum in order to feel for any abnormalities in the shape or size of the prostate gland. This procedure carries an increased risk of infection due to contact with bodily fluids. On the other hand, PSA testing requires only a blood sample and carries no known risks; however, it may produce false positives or false negatives, which could lead to unnecessary treatments or missed diagnoses respectively.
What Tests Should You Get?
Your doctor will recommend which tests are best for you depending on your age and risk factors. Generally speaking, seniors should get both a digital rectal exam (DRE) every year and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test every two years if they have no symptoms or a family history of prostate cancer. However, men with certain risk factors may need more frequent testing; speak with your doctor about what’s best for you based on your individual situation.
For men who have already undergone a PSA and DRE test, MRI scanning may be needed to confirm any suspicious results from these tests and determine whether further treatment is necessary. An MRI scan may also provide detailed information about the tumor’s size and location in order to help guide treatment decisions.
Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines
The American Urological Association (AUA) recommends that all men aged 55-69 should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor to determine if testing is right for them. The AUA advises against routine screenings in men under 40 because the risk of developing prostate cancer is very low at this age. Men between 40-54 are advised to discuss their risk factors with their doctor before deciding whether or not to get tested. For those aged 70 and older, there is no clear consensus as to whether screening is beneficial; therefore, it’s important for seniors to discuss their individual risk factors with their doctor before making a decision about testing.
Preparation for Testing
It’s important to prepare yourself physically and mentally before getting tested for prostate cancer. If possible, avoid any strenuous activity such as running or weightlifting at least 24 hours prior to testing so that your muscles are relaxed during the examination process. Additionally, make sure that you have eaten something recently so that you don’t pass out while lying down during the digital rectal exam portion of testing! Finally, remember that this experience may be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be stressful—try deep breathing techniques or meditation beforehand if necessary!
Know What To Expect After Testing
Finally, it’s important to know what happens after testing so that you can make an informed decision about further action if necessary. Depending on their findings, your doctor may suggest further tests or even surgery in order to remove any suspicious tissue from your prostate gland. Additionally, they may recommend lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise in order to reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer in future years.
Prostate cancer testing is an important part of healthcare for men over 50; however, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before making any decisions regarding testing or treatment options. It is important for elderly men considering having a prostate cancer test to discuss their options with their doctor, understand the risks and benefits associated with each type of test available, and know what action will be taken should anything suspicious be detected during testing. Knowing these facts can help elderly men make better-informed decisions about their healthcare needs related to prostate cancer screening and treatment options.