TODAY

TODAY   |  November 07, 2013

Men and prostate cancer: Why screening is key

The illness is among the leading causes of death among American men, and early detection can be important, which is why many experts encourage men to talk with their doctors about screening. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> this is no shave november. we are trying to raise awareness for men's issues. we have made our way to the prostate center.

>> i am not a proctologist or expert. but because you are here, we want to talk about prostate health. prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men. we want to talk about screening today. we want to talk about the parameters around smart screening. we want to remind you, you are in a doctor's office. this is a doctor speaking. we will talk about real medical images. take a look. power, strength, in control. some of the images men try to convey. all too often when it comes to medical tests , their attention comes up short. it is estimated this year more than 238,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the u.s. and more than between,000 men will die from the disease. one in six men will be diamondback nosed in his lifetime. the average age of a diagnosis is 67. the prostate is a small walnut shaped gland located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. it produces fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

>> the issue is that it surrounds itself with all these sensitive nerves that are responsible for special functions and that's why every man freaks out about it.

>> reporter: the most common testing methods for detecting prostate cancer is a blood test called the psa . it checks for elevated levels of protein produced by the prostate. also included are rec tam exams, where a doctor inserts the finger to feel the prostate w. mass psa tests already completed, al headed to the nbc medical clinic to have his blood drawn by specialist howard greenburg.

>> how are you doing?

>> i'm fine.

>> afterwards, it will head to the lab for several days for a result.

>> i feel a certain sense of relief, if you will. it really is about foeing.

>> the reminder again, an elevated psa does not necessarily mean you have cancer. it means you should have an intelligent conversation with your doctor. if cancer is detected, there are a lot of options for men now. you should never feel rushed before doing something