Over 55? What You Need To Know About Prostate Cancer

20 December 2021
 Categories: , Blog

While birthdays are fun when you hit certain milestones, like turning 16 or 21, the older you get, the less fun they become. In fact, milestone birthdays later in life are less about celebrating and more about marking the need for medical testing. Unfortunately, one of the little presents that men get around their 55th birthday is the need to start prostate cancer screenings. 

The prostate, part of a man's reproductive system, can develop a cancerous tumor. While hearing the "C word" is scary, it is important to remember that prostate cancer is treatable if caught early enough. Getting testing at 55 and every two to three years thereafter is key to successful treatment, however. 

Risk Factors

While all men should have prostate cancer testing starting at age 55, men with additional risk factors should consult their doctor about testing as early as age 40. These risk factors include having an immediate family member with prostate cancer, having a family history of certain types of breast cancer, and obesity. 


While testing typically occurs every two to three years, you should contact your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of prostate cancer including trouble urinating, erectile dysfunction, or blood in your urine. 


One of the common ways to perform prostate cancer testing is the PSA test or prostate-specific antigen test. This simple test measures the amount of a specific protein in your blood. If the results come back high or abnormal, your doctor may recommend a re-test or send you to the hospital for additional screening. 


Abnormal test results may indicate an enlarged prostate due to cancer or another reason therefore additional screening may be necessary. The most common options are the use of an ultrasound or an MRI. Both machines allow doctors to see bones as well as soft tissue, allowing them to make a more informed diagnosis for their patients.  If it is determined that cancer is present, the results also allow your doctor to determine if the cancer has spread and how advanced it is.


Like most cancers, treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Unlike other cancers, it is not uncommon for doctors to simply watch a tumor without treating it. especially if it is confined to the prostate and slow-growing.

Caught early enough, prostate cancer has a high success rate for patients. Early and regular screening is essential to catching it.