According to ZERO Prostate, a group devoted to the prevention and fight against prostate cancer, it’s estimated one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. But the group also notes that number increases to one in seven for African American men.
That’s why doctors say it’s important for all men, but especially African American men, to be screened. The most common screening tool is a PSA, or prostate-specific antigen test, or digital rectal exam.
“The prostate is a gland that sits underneath the urinary bladder and helps a man achieve erections, have semen and prevents infections of the urinary tract,” explains Urologist Bill Reha. “The problem with prostate cancer is typically there are no symptoms, so it is recommended that a man see his physician annually and consider having a digital rectal exam and PSA. Typically, this is elevated in men who have prostate cancer, but remember, it can be elevated for a host of other reasons.”
According to the American Cancer Society, when you start screening depends on each man and his risks. Men who are at an average risk of prostate cancer should start screenings at age 50. For men at high risk of developing prostate cancer, such as African American men or those who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed at an early age, they should begin screenings at 45. For men at an even higher risk, with one or more first-degree relatives with prostate cancer at a young age, screenings should start at age 40.