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Prostate Cancer Health Tips

Most prostate cancers grow slowly and don’t cause any health problems in men who have them.

If you decide not to get screened, you can always change your mind later. If you decide to get screened, it does not mean you have to go to the next step. You should discuss each step with your doctor.

Most prostate cancers found by screening are small and slow growing and may not be fatal. Some men may have a faster growing prostate cancer and will benefit from early treatment.

Older men, African-American men, and men who have a family history of prostate cancer have a greater risk for developing prostate cancer. If you are concerned that you may have a greater risk for prostate cancer, talk to your doctor about screening.

Screening for Prostate Cancer

One screening test for prostate cancer is a blood test, which can be abnormal (not normal) for several reasons besides prostate cancer.

The only way to know if an abnormal test is due to cancer is to do a biopsy. A biopsy is a surgery to get small pieces of the prostate to look at under a microscope. If the biopsy shows there are cancer cells, then your doctor will discuss treatment options.

Treatment of prostate cancer may include—

  • Close monitoring and follow-up visits.
  • Radiation.
  • Surgery to remove the prostate.

Side effects from radiation or surgery may include—

  • Impotence.
  • Loss of bladder control.
  • Problems with your rectum.

Medical groups do not agree on screening recommendations.

Talk with your doctor or nurse to decide together if prostate cancer screening is right for you.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Here are some questions you can ask your doctor about prostate cancer screening—

  • Am I at a greater risk for prostate cancer?
  • At what age should I start to think about screening for prostate cancer?
  • If I get my blood test, and it is not normal, what other things could I have besides prostate cancer?
  • What is a biopsy, and how is it done?
  • What are the side effects or risks of a biopsy?
  • If my biopsy shows some cancer cells, what does that mean?
    Ask about all treatment options: close monitoring and follow-up visits, radiation, or surgery to remove the prostate.
  • What are the side effects or risks of each treatment?
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