Knowing the importance of prostate cancer screenings

SALEM (WSLS 10)-- It's November and Movember, the month when men around the world grow their facial hair to raise money for men's health charities.

It's not unusual for Dr. Jessica Whiting, D.O. to have men come in, often at the urging of their wives after hearing about men's health issues.

"I occasionally do see men coming in saying they saw some segment on the news last night and they're concerned about their health," said Whiting.

When it comes to cancer, Whiting said the number one cause of death is lung cancer, followed by prostate cancer.

"Prostate cancer is the number two cause of death from cancer in America. It's quite common and at age 55, it's recommended to start screening for prostate cancer," continued Whiting.

The screening is done with an exam and a blood test measuring the level of PSA in the blood. The screening is controversial.

"There's a lot of controversy over prostate cancer screening. Some groups say not to screen at all because a lot of times there are false positive results. So your blood test is positive and you end up having a prostate biopsy that's negative and you don't have cancer however that's the only way were going to find the prostate cancer" explained Whiting.

She said it's proved to be a potentially lifesaving screening for some.

"I do have many patients who were diagnosed with prostate cancer because their doctor did that PSA test or their doctor did that rectal exam and found a nodule," said Whiting. "They were diagnosed early enough that they could get treatment."

She encourages men to see their family doctor once a year saying every patient is different and it's important to talk to your doctor to find out what screening, if any, is right for you.

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