Located below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum, the prostate is a gland found only in men. The prostate produces fluid that is part of semen and helps move the semen through the urethra during ejaculation. This gland is also susceptible to irregularities, chronic conditions and cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer for men in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2020 there were an estimated 191,130 new cases of the disease and 33,330 associated deaths. Fortunately, if detected early, prostate cancer is highly treatable, and most men survive the diagnosis, with more than 3 million prostate cancer survivors alive today in the U.S. as proof. Prostate cancer is often asymptomatic—there are no visible signs or symptoms until the disease is in its advanced stages—so screening is essential to making an early diagnosis.
Cancer screening is an important function of prostate exams, but that is not all they are used for. Prostate screening can also detect conditions like prostatitis or benign