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Why Prostate Exams are Critical
Piedmont Newton Front
Piedmont Newton Hospital in Covington - photo by Special to The Covington News

Keeping up with the different health complications you need to monitor can be overwhelming, and when you have no external symptoms, it can be all too easy to put off even recommended testing.

But, by the time you do realize something is definitely wrong, it can be too late for treatment to have an effective impact, particularly when regarding different types of cancer. Piedmont is here to help clarify who specifically needs to be tested and when, and to express the importance of receiving screening to stay ahead of prostate cancer.

As of today, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends that men and those with a prostate between the ages of 55 - 69 receive screening annually. It’s important to have individual discussions with your doctor prior to beginning testing about the benefits and potential costs of testing, as well as risk factors that increase the likelihood of having prostate cancer—which include having a family history of prostate cancer and being African American. Those who are age 70 and above are not advised to receive annual screening.

The test itself is known as the PSA blood test, PSA being an acronym for prostate-specific antigen, a protein that physicians and urologists will measure the level of to screen for prostate cancer. While not a perfect test, as abnormal PSA levels can be indicative of a variety of health conditions in addition to prostate cancer, it has been highly effective in detecting prostate cancer.

“When diagnosed early on, prostate cancer is highly treatable,” says John Ehret, M.D. “The cure rate is nearly 100 percent for these cases.”

Those within the affected age range, and especially those who fall within the high-risk groups, can prevent the cancer from becoming untreatable by taking action early on, but multiple options are available for those opting to be more cautious in steps taken.

In a situation where you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, but want to be sure that you do have it before beginning treatment, you can speak with your doctor about active surveillance of the prostate, which would allow you to monitor the cancer and any changes before taking action.

It’s also never too early to start practicing good ways to stay on top of your prostate health: maintaining a healthy fluid intake, staying a healthy weight, and keeping your doctor informed when there are any changes in urination (needing to urinate more or less often than usual, the appearance of blood, or frequent urinary tract infections).

“Taking steps to manage your prostate health before you reach the age where prostate cancer becomes a possibility, keeps you in better standing to face whatever the outcome is,” Ehret said.

Ehret is an internal medicine physician at Piedmont Primary Care at Eastside Crossing, located at 9202 Highway 278 Northeast in Covington. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ehret or one of our other primary care providers online at