Checking your prostate health is very important. Approximately one in nine men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, though it is more common in men over 50. Eighty percent of men over 80 have cancer cells in their prostate. Research indicates African Americans face a higher risk than other ethnicities. In its early stages, prostate cancer often goes unnoticed because the symptoms are mild or easily attributed to other causes. Early detection increases the likelihood of successful treatment.
As healthcare moves more into the digital and telehealth space, and less healthcare is carried out in medical centres, it’s natural to want to perform tests at home to avoid missing any big red flags. While monthly breast exams are promoted, what should men do to screen themselves for prostate cancer? Can you check for prostate cancer at home?
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men. This is the gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Thankfully some prostate cancers are slow growing, without causing serious harm. However, others are aggressive, so for both scenarios, identifying the cancer earlier is key.
Check out these tips for self examination:
Check each testicle separately, using one or both of your hands.
- Roll each testicle between the thumb and forefinger to check that the surface is free of lumps or bumps. Do not squeeze!
- Get to know our balls; their size, texture and anatomy. Become familiar with the feel of the epididymis collecting tube, which runs behind the testicle. This is normal and is often mistaken for new growth. Lumps in the epididymis are more common and almost invariably benign.
- Encourage your partner to have a go as he or she may be more likely to identify a problem in the future and get you to do something about it.
- Visit your doctor immediately if you find any new lumps
- Perform testicular self-examination on a regular basis – at least monthly. If you find an unusual lump in your testis get it checked by your GP. The likelihood will be that it will not be testicular cancer but testicular cancer still needs to be ruled out. Do not delay as in rare circumstances some types of testicular cancer can progress quickly.
Fact: Testicular cancer most commonly affects men aged between 15 and 45. Around 2,300 men are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.
Besides an at-home PSA blood test, there is no easy way to test yourself for prostate cancer at home. It’s recommended to see a physician for a digital rectal exam, as they have experience feeling prostates for lumps or enlarged prostate. However, at home, you can be vigilant about maintaining a good prostate-healthy diet, monitoring and recording any symptoms, and calling your medical professional early if you detect any changes to your urinary or genital health.
For more information and support on prostate cancer visit: https://prostatecanceruk.org/