(WBRE/WYOU) — Senator Casey is among the more than 3,000,000 men each year diagnosed with prostate cancer. The key to survival is to catch it in its early stages.

You’re looking at an example of what’s called robotic-assisted prostate surgery. It’s considered minimally invasive, just a few cuts in the abdomen to robotically remove a man’s cancerous prostate.

“I screen men. I find prostate cancer. I treat prostate cancer. There are some men that I find prostate cancer in that we find that we don’t have to treat them,” said Michael Rittenberg, a Urologist at Commonwealth Health.

Those are the ones with slow-advancing prostate cancer who may be monitored over time. Others may require only radiation. But for those dealing with a more aggressive kind, prostate surgery is recommended.

Since symptoms like blood in the urine or pain in the pelvis do not typically appear until an advanced stage, the best way to diagnose prostate cancer starts with a screening.

“When we feel the prostate, we feel a hard area here as opposed to a soft and symmetrical area here,” Dr. Rittenberg explained.

One method of prostate screening is a digital exam. A doctor will insert a finger into the patient’s rectum and feel for the prostate which, when healthy, should be about the size of a walnut and spongy to the touch. Another screening method is a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen test, or PSA test. While it is unclear if one or both screening methods were used to raise red flags in the case of Senator Casey, one thing is certain about his diagnosis.

“The only way to find cancer is to do a biopsy. The PSA itself does not measure cancer. It measures prostate metabolism,” Dr. Rittenberg told Eyewitness News.

Dr. Rittenberg encourages prostate screening for men. The recommendation is to get it done annually between the ages of 55 and 69. If the diagnosis is early prostate cancer and surgery follows, Dr. Rittenberg wants you to keep one thing in mind.

“You can live a perfectly normal life,” Dr. Rittenberg said.

Dr. Rittenberg says post-surgery effects include incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

To learn more about prostate cancer go to this website. For more information on the latest imaging testing to help detect prostate cancer in the body, head to this website.