Dyer: Get an annual medical physical and, for men, a DRE

A close friend of mine learned during his annual medical physical that he has an enlarged prostate.

Richard Dyer

It was discovered with a digital rectal exam.

Blood and urine tests have been done and the results will be shared with his doctor to determine the next steps.

When I heard his news I immediately sought out information online. I have the annual DRE but I didn’t remember enough about why.

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that surrounds the urethra at the neck of the bladder, according to the National Institutes of Health. Many health care providers perform a DRE as part of a routine physical exam for men age 50 or older, some even at age 40, the NIH website states.

One test my friend had was a PSA test. The NIH states that determines the amount of prostate-specific antigen that is in the blood. The PSA is a protein produced by normal, as well as malignant, cells of the prostate gland, the NIH website states.

Prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is another common problem for men over 50, it states.

And cancer.

If he does have prostate cancer, I will share with him a website I learned about last year at one of the Arizona Diamondbacks games.

Derrick Hall, Diamondbacks president and CEO, survived prostate cancer and started the Pro State Foundation.

The website is easy to remember: pro-state.org.

He explains in detail how he learned of his cancer at age 42, told his family and co-workers and decided to have a prostatectomy to remove his prostate.

“Catch it and treat it early,” Mr. Hall notes on his website.

One way to do that is to be sure to have the annual digital rectal exam like I do. No matter how much discomfort you may feel when a doctor performs this, it is fleeting and quickly forgotten.

Please tell your loved ones who are male that they need to set their annual medical physical and schedule a digital rectal exam.

It may be a lifesaver.

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The inaugural Apache Junction/Gold Canyon senior expo is 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Superstition Mountain Campus of Central Arizona College, 805 S. Idaho Road in Apache Junction.

The free event will give local residents a chance to connect with vendors and community groups. Entertainment is also planned.

The event will be presented by the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent newspaper.

Interested vendors can call Barb at 623-208-7866 or email evads@newszap.com.

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If you have a news tip, e-mail me at rdyer@newszap.com.

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