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Prostate Cancer: Why Routine Rectal Exams are so Important

Prostate Cancer: Why Routine Rectal Exams are so Important

Almost 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

Complications and death from prostate cancer are avoidable if prostate cancer is detected and treated early on, which is why men should make the time to get their routine rectal exam.

At Buschemeyer Urology with offices in The Woodlands, Conroe, and Willis, Texas, it’s easy to schedule your digital rectal exam to screen for prostate cancer. 

About the digital rectal exam

Your prostate is a walnut-sized organ that sits just in front of the rectum. It produces some of the semen released during ejaculation. 

During a digital rectal exam, board-certified urologist W. Cooper Buschemeyer III, MD inserts a gloved finger into your rectum and feels for any abnormalities or lumps. The prostate is usually smooth, so bumps or bulges indicate a possible problem.

The test is quick, simple, and requires no downtime or pre-test preparation. The rectal exam does feel awkward and slightly uncomfortable, but isn’t painful. 

Dr. Buschemeyer can tell you the results of your exam immediately and if any further steps are needed.

When you should schedule

Most men should start their regular rectal exams at age 50. We’ll schedule them annually to monitor any changes that may develop.

Men who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer, such as those of African-American descent, benefit from starting screenings at age 45. If you have a direct relative who had prostate cancer (like a father or brother), screenings should start earlier, too.

We may recommend starting regular rectal exams as early as age 40 if you’ve had more than one male in your family with prostate cancer.

Steps after your prostate exam

If we find a suspicious lump or irregular tissue during the exam, you’ll need to come in for additional testing. This may include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. 

A PSA test evaluates a sample of your blood to look for proteins that may be caused by cancerous tissue in your prostate. If your levels are spiked, it may indicate prostate cancer. 

However, the test isn’t full proof and elevated protein levels can be due to benign conditions like an enlarged prostate.

If you do undergo a PSA test and it shows abnormal results, Dr. Buschemeyer may then suggest an MRI or prostate biopsy procedure to get a more definitive diagnosis.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

If you haven’t been regular about your prostate tests, but have symptoms that include frequent urination, interruptions in the stream of urine, lower back pain or upper thigh pain, blood in your urine, or incontinence, come get your prostate checked right away. These are signs of prostate cancer and the sooner you address the potential illness, the better your chance of remission.

At Buschemeyer Urology, your urological health is our utmost priority. If you’re due for a prostate evaluation and rectal exam, call one of the offices of Buschemeyer Urology today to set up an appointment. You can also use this website to set up an appointment at one of our three Texas offices.

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