Your check-up – prostate exam

Posted on 7 February 2013

A routine check-up is quick and easy – and essential for your long-term health. We look at how investing a little time in your health today can add years to your future by taking one simple test.

The prostate
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found in front of a man’s rectum and below his bladder.

Why should I take the test?
Prostate-cancer is the second most common type of cancer affecting men and is one of the top 10 killer cancers. But if it’s caught early, more than 90% of patients recover.

When should I take the test?
From the age of 40, men should take the test annually.

What can I expect during the test?
Your doctor will first do a rectal exam. By inserting a gloved finger up the rectum, he will be able to detect hard or lumpy areas on the prostate. If there is cause for concern, a blood sample will be tested to see whether unusually high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are present. High PSA levels may be an early sign of prostate cancer.

What do my results mean?
A healthy result during a rectal exam shows no unusual enlargement, lumps or hardening of the prostate. In the PSA test, a healthy result is 4 ng/mL or lower. If your PSA reading is higher, your doctor will recommend further tests.

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The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.

Published in Cancer

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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