Most men probably don't realize they have a prostate gland, yet this walnut-sized structure that sits just below the male bladder is something that every guy should keep in mind. Cancer of the prostate is the number two cancer killer of men, accounting for nearly 35,000 deaths annually in the U.S. Prostate cancer advances slowly, though, so early detection and good prostate health can make all the difference. Here are six simple strategies that can keep you in the know about the status of your own gland, as well as keep it healthy.
Get your blood tested.
Although not diagnostic, a simple blood test called PSA (prostate specific antigen) can help detect prostate cancer years before symptoms develop. While it can be somewhat inaccurate, a baseline PSA test before the age of 50, then annually past that age, can be very helpful in detecting the disease long before it becomes a major problem. Because the incidence of prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 30, but increases with each decade after that, there is little benefit in starting screening in your 20s or 30s unless there is a strong history of prostate cancer in your family.
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