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The Power in Prostate Cancer Prevention

With a different health “awareness” month coming at you every month, it can become tempting to tune out. Or, you can tune in, and give yourself the opportunity in those 30 or so days to think, learn and reflect on your body, your health and your life.

This month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month takes center stage, and Any Lab Test Now wants to share some important and encouraging information.

The Facts:

  • One in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • One in 41 men will die of prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men.

Who is “Most “At Risk?

  • African-American men
  • Older men (the average age of diagnosis is 66)
  • Men with a family history

The Good News: (for those who are diagnosed and treated)

  • The 5-year relative survival rate is 99 percent.
  • The 10-year relative survival rate is 98 percent.
  • The 15-year relative survival rate is 96 percent.

It may be tempting to look at some of those stats and risk factors and think prostate cancer won’t affect or harm you. But with a cancer that is often asymptomatic, a simple lab test called the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA test , is the only way to catch the cancer in its early stages. The five-year survival rate in distant stage prostate cancer is a mere 29 percent.

As actor/comedian Ben Stiller, a Caucasian with no family history, found out at age 46, early prevention is key to those favorable survival rates.

“Taking the PSA test saved my life. Literally,” said Stiller in a first-person account of his journey into the world of being a cancer patient and cancer survivor.

To Test or Not to Test

The decision about if or when to do the PSA screening test has come under intense scrutiny, with varying opinions. For instance, the American Cancer Society recommends discussing the test at these stages:

  • Men at age 50, who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Men at age 45, who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer. (African-Americans and men who have a first-degree relative, father, brother or son, diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 65 or younger).
  • Men at age 40, who are at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Sr., took PSA tests for years before he was diagnosed at 55 years old. As an African-American with a strong family history (four uncles died of the disease), Griffey knew he was high-risk and knew early detection would be key to his survival. He was right. He is now a vocal advocate of PSA testing.

However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently updated its guidelines and recommends:

  • Men aged 55–69 discuss possible screening with their doctor.
  • Men aged 70 and older are advised against routine screening.

Potential reasons for not screening include false positives and over-treatment of what is commonly a slow-growing cancer, which could result in unwanted side effects like incontinence or impotence. However, a more common form of treatment is now being referred to as “watchful waiting.” This active surveillance combines regular PSA testing and digital rectal exams with close monitoring of men with a localized, low-grade prostate cancer, that may never progress to the point of needing more invasive treatments.

At Any Lab Test Now, we encourage men to take control of their health. Our simple PSA can provide results in a matter of days. This test provides valuable information that every man can take to their doctor for a thoughtful discussion about living their longest, healthiest life.

Knowledge Is The Key When It Comes To Prostate Cancer

It may seem like a real no-brainer: Shouldn’t every man be screened for prostate cancer once they reach a certain age? The answer to that question isn’t as simple as you might think. If you ask five different organizations, you’ll likely get five different answers. As September unfolds and brings with it National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Any Lab Test Now wants to take a stand. The key to taking control of your health is knowledge, and any important decision should be made with as much knowledge as you can gather.

Knowledge: the Facts

It’s a fact: other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The numbers for 2018 from the American Cancer Society are sobering:

  • An estimated 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed.
  • An estimated 29,430 men will die from prostate cancer.
  • About 1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer.

Those numbers can be frightening, but remember this: most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. This is just part of the puzzle that makes this disease so confusing.

Knowledge: the Risks

Different cancers have different risk factors. Some of those risk factors can be changed while others cannot. Consider smoking as a risk factor for lung cancer — it’s easy. Just quit. But you can’t change your family history or your age and those are at the top of the list for known risk factors associated with prostate cancer. What to know:

  • AGE – Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chances of developing the disease go up rapidly after the age of 50.
  • FAMILY HISTORY – There appears to be a genetic factor. Having a father or a brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease.
  • RACE/ETHNICITY – African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are also twice as likely to die from it than white men. Researchers are not sure why.
  • GEOGRAPHY – Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands. The reasons for this are not clear.
  • POSSIBLE FACTORS – Diet, obesity, smoking, chemical exposures, inflammation of the prostate, sexually transmitted infections, and vasectomy have all been studied and may have a less clear link.

The thing to remember here is this: having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease. Likewise, having none of the risk factors is no guarantee that you will not get the disease. What is important is that you know these risks and factor them into your decision.

Knowledge: the Symptoms

Risk factors aside, are there symptoms that you should be aware of that should send you straight to your doctor’s office? Well, like so many issues associated with prostate cancer, the answer is yes — and no. Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. But more advanced prostate cancers can sometimes cause symptoms, such as:

  • Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream. Also, the need to urinate more often, especially at night.
  • Blood in your urine or semen.
  • Trouble getting an erection.
  • Pain in the hips, back or chest.
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet

Each and every one of these symptoms could be caused by something else! But it’s something you should be aware of and make sure your doctor is aware of as well.

Knowledge: Taking Control of Your Health

At your local Any Lab Test Now, we offer the Prostate Specific Antigen test. It is our belief that it is important to establish a PSA baseline so that you can monitor any changes over time. It’s a decision every man must make for himself, along with his loved ones and his physician. It’s a simple test — without a simple answer. Any Lab Test Now strives to provide you with the knowledge you need to find the answer for yourself.

It’s Time to Get Macho About Men’s Health

 It’s not just a month to celebrate Dad’s day. It’s a month to celebrate men’s health. Do you know a man who never gets sick? Who is invincible? Who thinks he can beat back any ailment through sheer force of will? Maybe it’s a husband, son or brother. Or maybe it’s you? Men are notorious for not wanting to go to the doctor. Whether it’s to project a manly macho image, or maybe out of fear of needles or tests, many men are prone to neglecting their health. In fact, men make half as many prevention visits to physicians as women.

Need convincing? Consider this:

  • Men live five years fewer than women, on average.
  • Men have a higher death rate for most leading causes of death (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, suicide).
  • One in two men will develop cancer.
  • Thirty-thousand men die in the U.S. each year from prostate cancer.

Although prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of death among men in the U.S., death from prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable if it is detected while it is local or regional to the prostate. This makes early detection key. Don’t wait until urinary symptoms surface (loss of bladder control, pain/burning during urination, blood in urine, painful ejaculation or pain/swelling in legs or pelvic area) to get checked out.

No matter what age, all men should get a PSA Test (Prostate Specific Antigen). If that PSA substance – which is produced in the prostate gland – is elevated, it can indicate prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate. Establishing a PSA “baseline,” when you are healthy allows you to monitor any changes in your PSA levels over time and possibly detect and treat a disease before it’s too late.

The American Cancer Society just released new guidelines about colon and rectal cancers, another leading cause of death from cancer. With more colorectal cancers appearing in younger adults, men and women alike, the recommended screening age has been lowered from 50 to 45. The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is a simple at-home test that tests for blood in the stool and helps to ensure good colon health.

Awareness. Prevention. Action.

We know men are more likely than women to be uninsured. Fortunately, the direct access lab testing available at Any Lab Test Now gives them the opportunity to monitor their health and screen for a host of diseases without a doctor’s order. It just takes action!

Focusing on health instead of illness will ensure men live longer, healthier lives. That’s macho. And that’s what Men’s Health Month is all about.

The Personal Decision About PSA Testing

Men are getting new advice when it comes to prostate cancer screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) now recommends that men aged 55 to 69 decide for themselves whether they should be screened for the disease or not. But, the task force adds, the decision should be made after educating yourself about the benefits and the risks associated with the test. For years the task force boldly recommended that no men receive PSA screening for prostate cancer. The experts at Any Lab Test Now® agree with the change in direction: taking control of your health in an educated and proactive way is a smart move!

Educating Yourself about PSA

Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The prostate is a gland that makes up part of the male reproductive system. Some men have different symptoms for the disease (difficult and/or frequent urination, pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that won’t go away).  Some men won’t have any symptoms at all. The PSA test available at Any Lab Test Now measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in a man’s blood. When a man has an elevated PSA, he could have cancer. That “could” is an important word because those elevated results could be caused by other conditions. That’s why it’s so important to talk with your doctor about your results and keep two things in mind:

  1. Your family history. The task force recommends that patients, who have a family history of prostate cancer, be aware of their increased risk of developing the disease. The CDC says men with a father, brother, or son who has been diagnosed is two to three times more likely to develop the disease himself.
  2. Your ethnicity. Researchers aren’t sure why, but prostate cancer is more common in African-American men. It also tends to start at younger ages and grows faster than in other racial or ethnic groups.

Baseline as a Lifeline

For years Any Lab Test Now has advocated that men perform the PSA test to provide a baseline, so you and your physician can monitor for any changes. Now the task force is recommending their changes, based in part on this same principle. They say there’s new evidence that shows men are using the results of repeated PSA testing as part of what they call “active surveillance”. Active surveillance has become a more common treatment choice for men with lower-risk prostate cancer over the past several years, and may reduce the chance of overtreatment – and the complications that can come along with that.

Take Control of Your Health

These new recommendations underscore the importance of taking a proactive stance when it comes to your health. It’s important for you to understand your genetic risks and talk about your concerns with your doctor so that you’re looking at the whole picture when it comes to your health. An educated patient is a smarter – and healthier- patient.

Is Your Prostate a Problem?

Did you know prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among all men in the United States? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six percent of men over the age of 60 will develop prostate cancer before they celebrate their 70th birthday. While there is no true prevention for prostate cancer, precautionary measures such as PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing offered by Any Lab Test Now are recommended for all men to monitor risk levels and detect disease before it’s too late.

Establish a Baseline Early On

The prostate-specific antigen is a protein created by normal and malignant cells of the prostate gland, which are then released into the bloodstream. A PSA test is a simple blood test that measures prostate-specific antigen levels in the body and helps establish a PSA “baseline” for men to monitor over time. Results that reveal elevated levels of PSA in the blood could indicate signs of prostate cancer.

However, high levels may also signal a number of non-threatening prostate conditions, such as an inflamed prostate known as prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia. Although there is no clear evidence that these two conditions are precursors to prostate cancer, it is possible for men to develop one or more of these conditions in addition to prostate cancer.

Am I At Risk?

Lab results are typically recorded as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/ml) of blood. Men with levels of PSA that equal 4.0 ng/ml or less fall within the normal range, where men with results higher than 10.0 ng/ml are considered to have a greater risk of prostate cancer. PSA results between the normal and high range may indicate signs of benign prostate conditions.

Although the amount of PSA in the blood normally increases with age, it is important for all men to pay close attention to changes in their PSA levels over time. PSA testing is also recommended for men who undergo testosterone therapy.

The test is a simple and quick blood test with a one to three-day turn around for lab results. No more sitting in over-crowded doctors’ offices or waiting weeks on end to receive the outcome of your test. PSA testing is available at all Any Lab Test Now locations simply by walking in and requesting it.

Any Lab Test Now offers hundreds of lab tests, many specifically designed with men’s health in mind. No matter your age, PSA testing is a proactive step in taking control of your health. Whether you celebrate your 40th or 70th this new year, consider PSA testing so that you have the answers you need about your health and your future.

Should Men Consider PSA Testing?

In years past, there has been controversy in the medical community over the importance of PSA Testing. Critics of testing claim that it can lead to “over treating” prostate cancer. Proponents of testing point to the fact that, if detected early, prostate cancer is treatable 100 percent of the time. Which is correct? How do men evaluate if they should be tested?

How Can You Over Treat Cancer?

To make a more informed decision, it’s important to understand what is meant by over treating prostate cancer. One attribute of this type of cancer is that it is commonly slow growing. This means that it can oftentimes take many years before it ever impacts a man’s other organs. Until it does, it is unlikely that the cancer will cause any serious medical complications or discomfort.

Consider what might happen to a man who is in his late 60s, or to a man who might already be struggling with a more severe medical issue, and undergoes PSA testing. When the results come back and indicate prostate cancer, the reaction is to get rid of it. No one wants to have cancer.

However, remember that the cancer is slow growing. This means that it could take a very long time for him to experience any discomfort or reduced quality of life because of it. So, should a man that might never encounter the negative side-effects of prostate cancer because of his age or current medical state put his body and mind through the strain of treatment? Obviously, this is a personal decision to be considered after conversation with the man’s doctors and loved ones. But, this scenario is considered “over treatment.”

What About the 100 Percent Treatment Rate?

While over treatment can be a concern, there are real advantages to identifying and treating prostate cancer early. There are three stages of prostate cancer – local, regional and distant. In the local stage, cancer has not spread beyond the prostate. In the regional stage, it has spread only to areas nearby. In each of these cases, the survival rate at 5 years is nearly 100 percent.

However, by the time prostate cancer reaches the distant stage, it may be impacting the lymph nodes, bones or other organs. The survival rate at five years for those diagnosed in the distant stage drops to only 29 percent. That is why testing proponents believe PSA testing is critical once men reach age 40: It may help doctors identify prostate cancer before it reaches the distant stage.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

There are a variety of treatment options available for those who are diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Which option men pursue will depend upon conversations with their doctor about the benefits and risks, as well as at which stage the prostate cancer is diagnosed. Options include surgery, radiation treatment, high-intensity focused ultrasounds or hormone therapy.

In fact, because prostate cancer is slow-growing, there are many instances when a patient may not even require immediate treatment. This method of “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance” is a very real option for some men. It means that they can have knowledge about their medical health, but not necessarily take any physically or emotionally stressful measures to resolve it unless their test results start to change.

Having this less-invasive treatment option is one of the key reasons why men should be tested. The testing establishes a PSA level baseline against which they can be monitored for years to come.

New Research on PSA Testing

Because of the mixed views regarding PSA Testing, men can sometimes feel uncertain about how to proceed. Fortunately, new research is being done to help assess whether PSA Testing is a necessary option for men. The latest research re-examined the methods used in the previously completed PSA Testing clinical trials. When researchers did this, they discovered that both trials indicated a more than 30 percent “lower risk of prostate cancer death thanks to screening.” This reaffirms the need to establish a PSA level baseline and begin monitoring prostate health earlier in a man’s life.

No one wants to learn that they have cancer of any type, but knowing means having options! So, don’t wait for the odds of getting prostate cancer to get higher with age before you get tested. Instead, stop into your local Any Lab Test Now to start establishing a PSA baseline now.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

One in seven. That’s how many men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. It’s a frightening statistic. But here’s the flip side of those numbers. When it’s detected early, the survival rate past five years is 98 percent. If it isn’t found early? That drops to just 26 percent. The first step in that early detection is a simple blood test, and it’s available at Any Lab Test Now. Given that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to stop procrastinating and order the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to find out where you stand.

PSA TEST

The PSA test measures the prostate-specific antigen in the blood. The prostate makes the PSA, but if there is a tumor, the tumor also makes PSA. That brings the level up. Other factors can increase your PSA number. Those include an enlarged prostate, being older, ejaculation, an infection or inflammation, and some medicines like testosterone. Some studies have found that riding a bike may even be a factor, because the seat puts pressure on the prostate. There are also factors that can lower your PSA number, too. Herbal mixtures, obesity, a regular aspirin regimen, and thiazide diuretics — a water pill used to treat high blood pressure — can all lower your PSA number. Since the ups and downs are caused by so many external factors it’s a good idea to get a baseline reading of your PSA sometime in your 40s. Regular screenings are recommended once you hit 50 — sooner if you fall into a high-risk group. If you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer, those screenings should start at 45.

INCREASED RISKS

The risk of developing prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. African-American men are 73 percent more likely to be diagnosed than Caucasian men. Researchers can’t explain the disparity. Family history is a big factor, too. If your brother or father has had it, you are two and a half times more likely to develop prostate cancer. Your diet may be putting you at risk. Men who pile red meat and dairy on their plates increase their risk. Doctors aren’t sure if the increased risk results from those foods, or the likely lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet.

SYMPTOMS

The PSA screenings are important because, very often, men don’t experience any symptoms of prostate cancer. Signs to know are:

  • The need to urinate frequently, especially at night.
  • Difficulty starting urination, or holding it back.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Painful or burning urination.
  • Difficulty having an erection.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Blood in urine or semen.
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips or upper thighs.

Prostate cancer is often slow-growing and might never cause these problems. But some forms are more likely to spread to other parts of the body — especially to the lymph nodes and bones. Knowing your PSA number and discussing what it means with your doctor can help you make the best decision about your health.

During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, take the first easy step with a PSA test at your local Any Lab Test Now location.

The State of Your Prostate

What every man should know about a little gland that can cause big trouble

When it comes to prostate screening, it’s important for men to make an informed decision that will help keep them healthy and happy. The American Cancer Society says that prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men, with skin cancer taking the top spot. Any Lab Test Now makes it easy and convenient for men to find out where they stand with the Prostate Specific Antigen Test, otherwise known as the PSA Test.

What is the PSA Test?

PSA is a protein that’s produced by cells of the prostate gland. Though it’s a small gland, the prostate provides several key functions in men’s health, mainly involving reproduction and hormone metabolism.

The PSA Test offered by Any Lab Test Now measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood. Elevated levels could indicate potential prostate cancer, but it’s important to point out that there are several other conditions that could also cause an elevated result, such as:

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia –enlargement of the prostate.
  • Prostatitis – inflammation of the prostate.

In any case, in elevated PSA result should be followed with a visit to your physician.

Who’s at risk

According to the American Cancer Society, researchers have found several risk factors that you should take into consideration when deciding whether to undergo PSA testing. Age is a big one! Prostate cancer is rarely found in men under the age of 40, but cases rise rapidly after the age of 50. Family history is another indicator. Researchers have found an inherited or genetic factor associated with the disease. Having a brother or father with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk for developing this disease. It also appears that prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races.

Taking the next step

If you have a husband, a father, or a brother, educating the men in your life about prostate screening is an important first step. Talk with them about the importance of establishing a baseline result in their early years and continuing to be tested as they age to identify any changes. Then, walk in to your local Any Lab Test Now. We’ll perform a quick blood test and give you the answers you need to continue taking care of your prostate health.

Cheers to Men’s Health Month!

Women often joke that getting a man to go to a doctor is almost as difficult as getting him to ask for directions when he’s lost. In both situations, men tough it out until they feel better or gotten where they are going, even if it took twice as long as it needed to. When it comes to their health, that stereotype isn’t always wrong. According to the CDC, women are 100 percent more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventative services.

To help address this, June is Men’s Health Month. It’s a good time to take a look at some of the risks you may not even realize you’re taking. There are some simple things you can do to be healthier. Any Lab Test Now can help you see places you need to make changes, and you can do it without even needing a doctor’s appointment.

Heart Disease

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in men. Many of the risk factors for it are things that we can control. If you smoke, drink too much, eat a diet high in saturated fat (think: cheeseburgers and fries), lead a sedentary lifestyle and are overweight, you can change those things. Hey, no one said it would be easy! Stress can also be an important factor in heart disease.

Your cholesterol numbers are also a factor. Cholesterol is fat produced by your liver. You also get it from the foods you eat. Low levels of HDL (sometimes called “good cholesterol”) and high levels of LDL (sometimes called “bad cholesterol”) are the opposite of what you’re after. Any Lab Test Now has a Lipid Panel available that screens for HDL, LDL, the ratio of the two as well as your triglyceride levels. The result will let you and your doctor see if your cholesterol levels need attention.

Diabetes

Your chances of having a heart attack are also greater if you have diabetes. Diabetes is easy to ignore because at first you feel just fine. But the disease affects other organs: your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Left unchecked, the long-term complications can be disabling or even life-threatening. In addition to heart disease, diabetes can cause blood vessel damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, hearing loss, and possibly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The symptoms develop slowly — often a person has type 2 diabetes and doesn’t know it. Symptoms include: increased thirst and frequent urination, increased hunger, weight loss despite eating more, and fatigue. If you think you might have diabetes, or if you have diabetes and want to get a check on your blood levels, you can use the Diabetes Maintenance Panel at Any Lab Test Now.

Underlying Causes

Heart disease and diabetes aren’t embarrassing to talk about. But two men’s health issues that can lead to both of those can be uncomfortable to discuss —  prostates and testosterone. After you hit the age of 40, your prostate starts to grow. The symptoms you notice are a slower urinary stream or the sudden urge to go. But an enlarged prostate is also linked to metabolic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Another issue men face as they age is a drop in testosterone. The symptoms are a decreased sex drive, erectile difficulty, mood changes and even memory problems. Low testosterone increases the risk of developing diabetes and hypertension. You can find out what your levels are with a simple testosterone test from Any Lab Test Now.

Men, it’s time to take control of your health and well-being! The first step in leading a healthier lifestyle is knowing what changes you need to make. Along with your local Any Lab Test Now, it’s easy to find out what areas you and your doctor can focus on as you make a roadmap to follow for better health.

What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer

prostate-cancer-testing

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer found in American men. Despite this, many people remain unaware of the disease and do not monitor their prostate health on an on-going basis. It is imperative that men continue to learn about prostate cancer and take the necessary steps to catch the cancer early on.

What is prostate cancer?
It is a form of cancer that grows in a man’s prostate. The prostate is an organ located just below the bladder that is responsible for the production of seminal fluid. This is a slow growing cancer that often occurs without obvious symptoms, making routine testing a critical self-care resource.

Who is at risk for prostate cancer?
All men are at risk for developing prostate cancer, although it is rare for it to occur before the age of 40. As men age, however, their risk increases. About 60 percent of cases occur in men who are over the age of 60.

While all men should be tested for prostate cancer, African American men and those with a family member who was previously diagnosed with cancer should be even more vigilant. In fact, African American males are 56 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men of a similar age.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
As cancer develops in this region, it often grows without noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they tend to include issues with urination and sexual function. In some cases, men may experience discomfort in their hips or lower back too.

How can men protect themselves?
Men of all ages should routinely schedule a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. While uncommon in younger men, early testing provides a baseline against which prostate health is measured in later years. Certainly, by the age of 50, men should seek testing every two to four years.

Like most forms of cancer, prostate cancer is more successfully treated when caught in its early stages. The absence of noticeable symptoms makes it more difficult to do this, which is why testing is an important component of men’s health care. Any Lab Test Now offers a quick walk-in PSA Test that provides men insight into their prostate health and allows them to address any concerns with their doctor more quickly.