What every man should know.
By BJ Towe
Located in front of a man's rectum and just below his bladder, the prostate gland is part of the reproductive system and produces semen. When a man is around age 25, this gland is about the size and shape of a walnut. But then it begins to grow – and for many men, that causes problems.
Kevin Birusingh, M.D., one of the board-certified Urologists with The Iowa Clinic Men's Center, says, “A large percentage of men will be affected by their prostate at some point in their lives. Whether it's an infection or inflammation, enlarged prostate, or even prostate cancer, there are solutions available.”
Dr. Birusingh serves patients who may have one of three common problems:
Beginning at the age of 50 it's recommended that all men have an initial PSA (blood test) and digital rectal exam. But “If your father, brother, or son has had prostate cancer, you're twice as likely to get it yourself. If you're African- American, you are at a 56 percent higher risk. We recommend you get screened beginning at age 40,” says Birusingh.
Screening for prostate cancer involves a digital rectal exam (in which your physician physically checks for abnormalities in the pelvis and lower belly) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. When PSA levels are high, it may indicate cancer. If cancer is suspected, other diagnostic tests will be ordered.
Most problems with the prostate are not cancer. Birusingh adds, “However, if cancer is present, we can usually treat it effectively with hormonal therapy chemotherapy, cryotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation.”
If you are concerned about your prostate health The Iowa Clinic Men's Center is comprised of a team focused on the unique health needs of men.