Med-Surg - Reproductive System, part 2: Screening & Diagnostic Tests
by Cathy Parkes November 22, 2022 Updated: August 10, 2023 3 min read
Full transcript and video captions coming soon!
Hi. I'm Cathy with Level Up RN. In this video, I will be going over key screening and diagnostic tests that involve the female and male reproductive systems. And at the end of the video, I'm going to give you guys a little quiz to test your knowledge of some of the key points I'll be covering, so definitely stay tuned for that. And I will be following along with our Level Up RN Medical-Surgical Nursing Flashcards, so if you have our flashcards, definitely pull them out so you can follow along with me, and if you don't have them, go check them out on our website, leveluprn.com. We take out all the fluff so that you can concentrate on the most important stuff that you need to know for your class, for your exams, and for your practice.
Let's first talk about female reproductive screening and diagnostic tests. So a Pap test screens for cervical cancer, and it's recommended that individuals get a Pap test every one to three years. So if you are low risk and your previous Pap tests have all been negative or normal, then chances are you can go every three years between tests. But if you've had any kind of abnormality with a previous Pap test, then chances are you will need them more frequently, such as every year. So it's recommended that Pap tests begin three years after sexual intercourse or by age 21. During this test, a speculum is inserted in the vagina, and a brush is used to collect cells from the cervix. A mammogram is an X-ray that screens for breast cancer, and it is typically recommended annually starting at age 40, but you may need to start getting mammograms sooner if you have a high risk of breast cancer, such as a family history. So when getting a mammogram, patients should avoid using deodorants, lotions, or powder in the axillary region. And then in addition to getting mammograms, we also recommend monthly self-examinations for breast cancer, so it's recommended that females perform these examinations three to five days after their period because that is when their breasts are less swollen and less tender.
Let's now talk about some key male reproductive screening and diagnostic tests. So a prostate-specific antigen or PSA level screens for prostate cancer, and it's recommended that males start getting this level drawn annually starting at age 50, but possibly sooner if they're at high risk. So a PSA level under 4 is expected. If the PSA level comes back over 4, then that definitely requires further evaluation. It could mean the presence of prostate cancer, but it could also mean the presence of something called BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. So a digital rectal exam or DRE also screens for prostate cancer. So during this procedure, the provider palpates the prostate gland through the rectal wall, and we would not expect to feel any abnormalities such as lumps or an enlarged or hard prostate. So when we need to get the patient's PSA level and also do a digital rectal exam, it's going to be very important that we get that PSA level first and then do the digital rectal exam. If we did it the other way around, then doing the digital rectal exam can alter the results of the PSA test, and it could be falsely elevated. So this is definitely important to know and definitely something that you may be tested on in nursing school. And then finally, let's talk about a testicular self-examination. It's recommended that males do this monthly starting at age 15 or so. So performing this examination either in the shower or after a shower can help make it easier because the scrotum will be relaxed, and it'll be easier to palpate the testes.
All right. It's time for a quiz. Are you guys ready? I have three questions for you. First question. A Pap test screens for ovarian cancer. True or False? The answer is False. A Pap test screens for cervical cancer, not for ovarian cancer. Question number two. A prostate-specific antigen level over blank nanograms per milliliter requires further evaluation. The answer is 4. And question number three. When obtaining a PSA level and performing a digital rectal exam, it's important to take the PSA level before the DRE. True or False? The answer is True. Okay. That's it for this video. I hope it's been super helpful. Take care, and good luck with studying.
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