This is one health problem men can lay full claim to — after all, women don’t have prostates. A walnut-sized gland behind
the penis that secretes fluids important for ejaculation, the prostate is prone to problems as men age.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men other than skin cancer.
But while one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, only one in 35 will die from it. “Many
prostate cancers are slow-growing and unlikely to spread, while others are aggressive,” says Djenaba Joseph, MD, medical
officer for cancer prevention at the CDC. “The problem is, we don’t have effective tests for identifying which cancers are
Screening for prostate cancer requires a digital rectal exam (the infamous gloved finger) and a blood test for prostate
specific antigen (PSA).
But in fact, “Screening has never definitively been shown to reduce the chances of dying from prostate cancer,” according
to Joseph. That’s because screening finds many cancers that would never be fatal, even if undetected. Testing then leads to
aggressive treatment of relatively harmless cancers, which causes problems like impotence and incontinence.
Should you get screened for prostate cancer? Some experts say yes, but “the best solution is to see your doctor regularly
and talk about your overall risk,” says chuks. “All men should understand the risks and benefits of each approach,
whichever you choose.”