Men’s health: What is a prostate?

What is a prostate?

The prostate is a gland that makes up part of the male reproductive system that provides fluid to help carry the sperm. It is almost the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.

The size of your prostate can increase as you age. A good rule of thumb is men should be screened for prostate cancer by age 50. If a family history of prostate cancer exists, there is a greater risk for developing the disease and you should be screened sooner, typically by age 40 or 45.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men in the U.S., not including skin cancer. Prostate cancer occurs when the prostate gland begins to grow abnormally with cancer cells. In its early stages, men with prostate cancer may not exhibit symptoms, which means the cancer can only be detected by a blood test or physical exam.

How can I be screened for prostate cancer?

Multiple tests can be used to screen for prostate cancer. A blood test, also called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, is often used to screen for any warning signs of prostate cancer. A doctor may also recommend a digital rectal exam (DRE), where they will physically feel for lumps in the prostate to determine if cancer or anything abnormal is present.

The greatest benefit of getting screened regularly is decreasing the risk of potential cancer spreading if left untreated. Like most cancers, the earlier you catch it, the better chance you have of beating it.

Have you had your prostate checked? To schedule a screening, call UofL Physicians – Urology at 502-588-4740 or talk to your primary care physician to schedule your screening. To make an appointment with a UofL Physicians – Primary Care provider, call 502-588-4343.

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center has a multidisciplinary team with innovative treatment options. Call 502-562-HOPE (4673) to schedule an appointment.