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What is a Prostate Screening Test and how to get ready for it?

by Melissa Bell
3 minutes read

If you have a prostate screening test about to be performed on you, you must be wondering how to get ready for it. But you must know what prostate screening tests are and how they are performed before you jump to the section below where we’ve mentioned how you need to prepare yourself for the exam.

What are prostate screening tests?

The prostate screening tests are the screening tests done for the diagnosis of cancer and the diagnosis of an enlarged or inflamed prostate. A prostate helps in the production of seminal fluid, as it’s a walnut-sized gland located near one’s bladder. So, doctors perform a prostate screening test to determine whether or not one has an enlarged or inflamed prostate. Moreover, the same test is also done to diagnose prostate cancer (the second most common form of cancer in American men).


How are prostate screening tests performed?

Generally, the exam involves two tests: one is a test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and the other one is a digital rectal exam (DRE). Most people consider it only a cancer screening test but it’s wrong. If you have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, it’s simply that your doctor may want to perform a prostate exam. Moreover, some doctors perform this exam as part of a routine checkup before prostate screening tests.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): What is it?

DRE is the most common way for doctors to check on your prostate’s health. It’s a very simple and quick procedure. For DRE, while standing or lying on your side, you need to bend at the waist with your knees bent toward your chest. Then, your doctor will gently place a lubricated gloved finger inside your rectum.

His one hand will feel your pelvic area whereas, he’ll press the other one on your prostate. It generally takes a few minutes and also, DRE has no risks.

Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA): What is it?

It’s done to screen for prostate cancer, and for that, a doctor requires your blood for screening of PSA levels. For those who don’t know what PSA is, it’s a protein that helps liquefy semen.

It’s not unusual for PSA to get into your bloodstream. The main things that can cause your PSA levels to rise above normal are:

  1. some forms of prostate cancer
  2. an enlarged prostate
  3. an infected or inflamed prostate

Apart from that, your PSA levels can also be lowered from their normal range due to certain forms of prostate cancer.

Prostate Screening Tests: How to get ready for one?

Consider the following points for preparing yourself for a prostate exam:

  • If you have anal tears, hemorrhoids, or any other problem with your anus, tell your doctor right away.
  • Try to relax and breathe normally because the exam will be easier this way.
  • If you take any supplements or medications, you should tell your doctor about that before having a PSA test.
  • You should also ask your doctor if you need to abstain from sexual activity before the test. Because recent ejaculation can also affect your PSA levels.

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