Your prostate is a small gland that produces the fluid that transports sperm. Although it plays an important part in the male reproductive system, most men don’t spend much time contemplating their prostate health.
But did you know that after skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men? It doesn’t have early warning signs, and the only way to detect it is through regular physical exams and prostate screenings.
Eric Seaman, MD, and our urology team specialize in prostate care, and now’s the time to learn a little bit more about your prostate health. From routine screenings to expert care for prostate cancer, we’re here to help you live better for years to come.
What is the prostate?
Your prostate is a gland that’s about the size of a walnut. It’s located in front of your rectum, and between your bladder and your penis. Your urethra runs through the middle of it.
The prostate gland makes and secretes a fluid that nourishes and carries sperm. This fluid is combined with sperm and other fluids to create semen, and the muscles of the prostate work to push semen into the urethra and out of your body during ejaculation.
Common prostate conditions
The prostate gland is small, but it’s susceptible to a few different problems that could affect your overall health.
Your prostate naturally grows larger as you get older, particularly after age 40. If it gets too large, you may be diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called an enlarged prostate.
BPH is very common, and more than 90% of men over age 80 have it. It’s not cancerous, and it doesn’t increase your risk of prostate cancer. But the condition can restrict the flow of urine through your urethra, because the enlarged prostate gland squeezes it.
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cancerous cells begin growing in your prostate gland. Cancer cells can grow into a tumor or spread to other parts of your body. If you have prostate cancer, you may develop complications like urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.
The good news is that when it’s identified early, prostate cancer is very treatable. Treatment options often include watchful waiting, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.
When to schedule prostate screenings
Prostate cancer is common, but it rarely has noticeable warning signs. Routine prostate screenings are the best way to detect prostate cancer as early as possible, so you can get the treatment you need.
Your risk of prostate cancer is unique to you, but Dr. Seaman generally recommends prostate screenings beginning around age 50. Your prostate exam is part of your routine annual physical, and it takes just a few moments in the office.
Dr. Seaman performs a digital rectal examination to check your prostate. He gently inserts a gloved finger and feels your prostate to determine if it’s enlarged, unusually shaped, or tender. If necessary, he may recommend additional testing with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, prostate ultrasound, or prostate biopsy.
Is it time to schedule your annual prostate screening? Contact our team at 973-259-6695, request an appointment online, or request an appointment with Dr. Seaman online today.