Prostate cancer usually–but not always–grows slowly. It is best treated if still prostate-contained, but it usually manifests no symptoms until it’s spread beyond the prostate. Fortunately, medicine has developed early screening tools. In a digital rectal examination (DRE), the doctor inserts a finger into the rectum (often after an embarrassed apology) and feels for enlargements or other abnormalities.
Only some tumors can be felt. About 1990, doctors added a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. PSA, measurable through a blood test, is produced only by prostate cells. Cancerous cells produce more than normal cells. PSA level can be a red flag long before other symptoms develop. (1)
Based on my PSA; the type of cancer found in my biopsy; and my age, health, and best-guess life expectancy, I was a candidate for virtually every major treatment: surgery,