Prostate Cancer Screening for Santa Barbara

Prostate Cancer Screening Santa Barbara Urologist David Laub

The prostate—part of the male reproductive system—is a walnut-sized gland consisting of two lobes enclosed by an outer layer of tissue. Located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder, the prostate surrounds the urethra, the canal through which urine passes out of the body. While this gland has several functions, its main role is to supply fluid and nutrients to the sperm during and after ejaculation.

Male Americans have a 15.9% lifetime chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer

This makes prostrate cancer the most common non-skin cancer in men. Even without treatment, most cases of prostate cancer have a good prognosis, although it can sometimes be more aggressive. The lifetime risk of dying of prostate cancer is 2.8%, particularly after age 75 (when 70% of prostate cancer deaths occur).

Because it is rare before age 50, prostate cancer screening for early detection is recommended in men 50 and over with average risk, and only in men over 40 who have a high risk or family history of this disease.

Dr. Laub offers the two most common diagnostic tests for prostate cancer screening:

  • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) - The doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to manually feel any suspicious nodules or bumps.
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test – Measures for PSA, a protein produced by prostate cells that is frequently elevated in the blood of men who have prostate cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved use of the PSA test in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to help detect prostate cancer in men age 50 or older, and for monitoring prostate cancer patients after treatment. However, much remains unknown about the interpretation of PSA levels, the test's ability to discriminate cancer from benign prostate conditions, and the best course of action following discovery of elevated PSA levels. While the normal range should be less than 4.0, younger men should have a PSA that is less than 2.5.

Contact our office to discuss if a Prostate Cancer Screening exam is the right option for you.