Prostate Cancer Myths vs. Facts
By: Dr. Gary Bellman on June 27, 2013, 3:00 am
There are some things no one wants to talk about, even with a doctor. ‘Prostate’ and ‘cancer’ are words that could both be on that list. Put the two together, and you have what is an awkward topic for many. With misconceptions that may arise from a lack of communication about prostate cancer, some men will overlook the importance of proper testing or even a simple check-up.
- A digital rectal exam, (DRE) is not necessary if you have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
A PSA screening test is more effective when done alongside with a DRE. Unfortunately, some providers don’t do digital rectal exams. While a DRE may seem invasive, men won’t get much sympathy from women who have undergone gynecological exams.
- An enlarged prostate is a sign of prostate cancer.
Enlargement of the prostate and prostate cancer are different. Symptoms of enlargement include the inability to empty the bladder completely, the need to urinate frequently at night, and incontinence. Prostate enlargement happens to most men as they age and does not increase the risk for prostate cancer.
- PSA tests are not a good screening method.
There is truth in that a PSA test can be elevated without cancer being present. That can sometimes lead to unnecessary biopsies. Most importantly, PSA tests alongside digital rectal exams, are still a good idea for many men.
Dr. Bellman’s approach is to carefully monitor the trend of PSA results over time as a much more effective way of detecting prostate cancer. There is no doubt that early detection saves lives in the case of aggressive cancers. Men between age 50-75 should talk to their healthcare provider to weigh the risks and benefits of prostate
- Prostate cancer is difficult to treat.
In this day in age, with modern techniques, physicians are able to treat the disease effectively while minimizing side effects using either surgery or radiation. The word ‘cancer’ will turn anyone pale in a heartbeat, but in the case of prostate cancer, that doesn’t need to be the case… Early detection is key and speaking to a urologist about the importance of proper testing and check-ups is always encouraged.
For further inquiries or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bellman, call 818.703.9500
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