A colonoscopy can be a concerning procedure for many patients, but it can be made much easier by ensuring that you are properly prepared on the day of the colonoscopy. By understanding exactly what should be done in the days leading up to the procedure, you can ensure that everything goes smoothly throughout the process.The…
What You Should Know About Proctology Exams
A proctology exam is one of those little things that can end up saving your life. It is necessary to detect prostate cancer, which is the second highest leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men.
The American Cancer Society states that approximately one in seven men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is not yet clear if it is possible to prevent prostate cancer, but early detection is vital when it comes to reducing the likelihood of death from the disease.
A prostate exam can detect early signs of prostate cancer in patients who do not yet have any apparent symptoms. The exam is recommended for all men once they turn 40 years old.
Your doctor will use two exams to detect prostate cancer. These are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) exam and the digital rectal exam (DRE).
Neither one of these tests confirms the disease, but they do reveal if the patient has prostate issues and if further testing like a biopsy is needed.
What to expect during a proctology exam
Prostate-specific antigen test
During the PSA exam, a sample of blood is drawn from the patient. A lab then tests the blood’s concentration of PSA, a protein produced in the prostate.
Certain external factors can affect the results of a PSA proctology exam. For best results, the patient should not have:
- Worked out vigorously within the past two days
- A urinary tract infection
- A prostate biopsy within the past two months
- Ejaculated within the past two days
The factors listed above typically increase the patient's PSA levels. These levels can also be affected by:
- Certain medications
- The patient's ethnicity
- An infection
- An enlarged prostate
It typically takes about two weeks to get the results of a PSA test.
If the patient's PSA levels are high, the doctor might require additional testing. The higher a person's PSA levels are, the more likely it is that the person is developing or has prostate cancer.
Since many factors can affect a patient's PSA levels, the doctor will put all these into consideration before determining if further testing is required.
Digital rectal exam
During the DRE exam, the health care provider inserts a gloved finger into the patient's rectum. They are looking for abnormalities related to prostate issues. The procedure is typically not painful, and it is over in a few minutes.
Prostate cancer mostly develops in the back of the prostate gland. For this reason, it can be felt during a DRE exam.
Your doctor may recommend further testing if they notice any of the following:
- Rectal tumors
- Enlarged prostate
- Weak sphincter muscles
When was your last checkup?
Seeing your doctor for regular proctology exams does not require much effort. The tests are simple and can help detect life-threatening issues before they arise. You may feel uncomfortable during your first visit, but your doctor will walk you through every step.
Talk to one of our proctologists to learn more about getting tested for prostate cancer.