There are two main screening methods for prostate cancer: PSA tests and digital rectal exams (DRE). Depending on your risk factors for prostate cancer (i.e. family history, African American and increasing age), your physician will/will not recommend screening. Unfortunately there is not a 100% accurate way to screen for prostate cancer; therefore the results of these two screening methods must be considered along with your personal risk factors.
PSA stands for Prostate-Specific Antigen and is a simple blood test that can help detect prostate cancer before it spreads test (PSA test). This test analyzes the blood for PSA, a substance produced by the prostate gland. If higher-than-normal levels of PSA are detected, above a level of 4.0ng/ml, it may indicate prostate infection or enlargement of the prostate gland, or cancer. The American Urologic Association recently released their guidelines for PSA testing, which recommends a baseline PSA in well-informed men starting at age 40, and rescreening either yearly or every 3-5 years depending on that first baseline value. The logic behind this is understandable; PSA. Trends in PSA scores over time can also provide valuable information for urologists when they counsel their patients. Your PSA can be drawn along with other routine blood tests by your primary care physician.
A digital rectal exam (DRE) is a quick exam by a physician involving the insertion of a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate gland. The physician is feeling for abnormalities in texture, shape or size.