Each year nearly 165,000 new cases of prostate cancer are found in the U.S. Almost 30,000 men will die from the disease this year. It is second only to skin cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in men. The chance of developing prostate cancer goes up with age.
Although the prostate examination is quick and simple, many men resist having this important test. Here are some reasons men commonly mention for not having a prostate check up.
1. Only old men have prostate problems
Not true. Although prostate problems are most common after age 60, they can affect men of any age, particularly those over 40.
2. I haven’t had any symptoms
Go anyway. Each year, more than 34,000 men die of prostate cancer. Why? Because there are generally no symptoms in the earliest stages when prostate cancer is most curable.
3. I feel embarrassed at the thought of the digital rectal examination
So do most men. However, the prostate is an internal organ that cannot be looked at directly. The way doctors routinely examine it is by gently sliding a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum, a process that takes only a minute. Because women’s reproductive organs are internal, women are more used to internal examinations. Some men need extra encouragement to overcome their embarrassment.