The Navy is observing National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by offering free prostate cancer screenings at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) Urology Clinic in Bethesda, Maryland, on all Wednesdays of September, according to a feature on the Navy website.
Army Lt. Col. Stacey Koff, a staff urologist at the NNMC, shared: “Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, after skin cancer. The American Urologic Association [Foundation] recommends screening starting at age 40.”
There are two ways to screen for prostate cancer: testing for a prostate specific antigen (PSA), and the digital rectal exam (DRE) or the prostate exam. Koff explained the PSA test: “It’s a blood test and the prostate is the only part of your body that produces PSA. Normally, a little [PSA enters] the blood stream, but when the architecture of the prostate changes because of cancer, trauma or infections, more PSA will [enter] the blood stream, so it is a way to check for possible prostate cancer.”
Early detection is important in the management of prostate cancer, especially since the disease progresses slowly and it is entirely possible that men will not notice the effects of prostate cancer right away.
Koff also encourages patients to discuss screenings with their respective physicians, to ensure that undergoing a test is necessary. She also said that men who have a history of prostate cancer in their family also need to consult with their urologist.
The screening only takes a few minutes, and Koff is encouraging people to have themselves checked.