What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Prostate Exam

When men approach the age of 40, dread sets in about the changes coming in our annual physical exam. Those are appointments many of us avoid anyway, and the idea of a digital rectal exam (DRE) being performed is not a pleasant one.

Fortunately, it’s really not that big of a deal. There is no pain involved, although some men might have a little discomfort during the exam. And the DRE is accepted in most medical circles as the least invasive, most effective way to detect problems with your prostate early.

For many men, these exams really don’t need to begin until you hit 50. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule. African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer and suffer higher mortality as a result of the disease than their Caucasian counterparts, so the recommendation for black men is to start screenings at age 40. And men who have a family history of prostate cancer need to start their exams early too.

And just remember, the women in your life go through mammograms on a regular basis, which are much more intrusive and uncomfortable. So don’t be surprised if they don’t give you much sympathy for not going to get tested for prostate cancer.

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