What Kinds Of Screening Opportunities Can I Take To Detect Prostate Cancer Before I Have Symptoms?

Dr. Otis Brawley answers the question: 'Screening Tests For Prostate Cancer?'

March 16, 2009 -- Question: What kinds of screening opportunities can I take to detect prostate cancer before I have symptoms?

Answer: Screening for prostate cancer is doing tests before a person has symptoms. Right now there are really two things that are done in screening for prostate cancer. One is the digital rectal exam, where glove fingers is placed up the rectum to feel the prostate, looking for areas where there might be nodules or asimilar areas of the prostate. The other is a blood test called the prostate specific antigen. This blood test is a simple blood test it's drawn and a man gets a number 24 hours to 48 hours after he has his blood test drawn, and if that PSA is abnormal, or the digital rectal exam is abnormal, follow up tests need to be done, which might include an ultrasound of the prostate, and may also include a biopsy of the prostate.