- In its early stage, prostate cancer is curable.
- It is best to perform the digital rectal exam together with the specific antigen test.
- One in 13 men will develop prostate cancer.
It is estimated that one in 13 men will develop prostate cancer and one in seven will die from this condition. This is the most frequent oncological disease and also the most prevalent cause of death in men over 50 years old.
Dr. Aarón Torres García, a urologic oncologist at ABC Medical Center, says that prostate cancer is a very common disease but totally curable when detected early.
There are two methods for its detection: a digital examination of the prostate, that is, a digital rectal exam, and the prostate-specific antigen test. Those tests are recommended once a year from the age of 45. In the case of people with a high-risk factor, such as African-Americans, it is recommended to perform the prostate-specific antigen test twice a year and the digital rectal exam only once a year.
When it comes to prostate cancer screening, it’s best to do both tests, says Dr. Torres, because, in case of only performing the prostate-specific antigen test, it will result in a 45% chance of detecting cancer and a 58% certainty of not having it. While, with the digital rectal exam, the probability of not having cancer is 60%.
When both tests are combined, the certainty that there is no cancer rises to 94%. In summary, everything will depend on the certainty you want to have in the detection of prostate cancer.
For Dr. Torres, it is of great importance to mention the myths about prostate cancer. The most important being the lack of pain. Commonly, patients do not undergo the check-up because there is no pain, but the reality is that prostate cancer it is totally asymptomatic during the curable stage and once the patient begins to have symptoms or pain, it means that the cancer has advanced, even reaching metastasis.
Another fear around prostate cancer, says Dr. Torres, is the digital rectal exam, a situation that has a lot to do with social, cultural, and even personal aspects. But during this procedure the patient is not uncomfortable, it does not hurt, and it is critically important for preserving life, so it is important to break the taboo regarding the digital rectal exam.
During the digital rectal exam, the doctor will measure the prostate’s volume, weight, size, and texture, to find a tumor. Another recommended factor during the digital rectal exam is that it be performed by a urologist because there are studies that show that when a urologist checks a prostate previously checked by another type of doctor, around 15% of the normal prostates turned out to have some type of tumor.
Among Dr. Torres’s recommendations is to perform both tests once a year from the age of 45 and analyze your family history, since if your father suffered from this disease, you are 6.6 times more likely than the rest of the population to develop this cancer, but if your brother has already had it, your chance increases to 12.4 times.
It must be remembered that prostate cancer is curable if it is detected early.
At the ABC Medical Center’s Cancer Center we can provide you with specialized care.