Newsplex - Martha Jefferson HealthWise - Headlines

Healthwise: Prostate Cancer Screenings

September 15, 2010

The urologist's office is a place some men are not exactly thrilled to visit, but just a few minutes at a prostate screening can make all the difference.

"Prostate screening allows for detection early and then treatment early," said urologist, Geoff Habermacher.

Dr. Habermacher, of Urological Associated in Charlottesville, recommends men start prostate screenings at age 50. Although, African-American males or men with a family history of prostate cancer should get an earlier start; age 45 if they have one of the two risk factors and age 40 if they have both.

"The fundamental thing to understand is that prostate cancer does not have any symptoms at early stage, so you can be feeling great. Everything can be working, urinating fine, all these things we associate with the prostate, and [still] have prostate cancer," said Dr. Habermacher.

So, what can you expect when you step foot in the exam room?

"A PSA blood test, digital rectal exam and kind of an abbreviated history with regard to previous family and medical history," said Dr. Habermacher.

If the patient has an abnormal screening, a prostate that feel abnormal or an elevated PSA blood test, the next step is a biopsy.

"[The] biopsy is done in the urology office and takes about 10-15 minutes. It's done with an ultrasound probe and you get small bits of prostate tissue," said Dr. Habermacher.

The procedure tells the doctor if the patient has prostate cancer and how much is present inside and outside of the prostate. Once the doctors knows this information, he/she is able to administer the best possible treatment.

"It falls into two main categories: curative treatments, like things that are targeted at curing the prostate cancer, and surgery/radiation. Those two types of treatment can cure if it's caught within the prostate," said Dr. Habermacher.

However, cancer that is outside of the prostate really cannot be cured. It can be held in check by hormonal treatments, like shots or pills.

Despite possible apprehension about prostate screenings, doctors says it's better to be safe than sorry. And Martha Jefferson Hospital is offering free prostate screenings Saturday, September 18 from 7:45am to 10:45am. No registration is needed. Patients will be seen on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The comments sections of are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 102981064