The anxieties and restrictions behind the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are causing us to overlook many of our basic health needs. As a result, healthcare specialists are particularly concerned about the potential for new health problems. As we all know, the sooner a health problem is identified, the more likely we are to be able to successfully treat it. For men, in particular, prostate cancer caught earlier on has much higher rates of recovery.
September was declared Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in 1999 by the American Foundation for Urological Disease. This started as an effort to raise awareness about the prevalence of prostate cancer and to encourage men to get pre-screened on a regular basis. Each cancer has a corresponding color that represents support, and the color of support for prostate cancer is light blue. This color represents healing, health, and understanding, as well as the unwavering determination of people who fight prostate cancer every day.
About Prostate Cancer
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that generates fluid that is part of the semen. It is slightly below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in males; after lung cancer, it is the second largest cause of cancer death in men worldwide.
The following are some of the most common risk factors for prostate cancer:
- Age: The risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age
- Family history: You are at a higher risk if your father or sibling has prostate cancer
- Weight: Being overweight may increase your risk
Many men with prostate cancer have no symptoms and would go undiagnosed without screening. Consult a family doctor if you notice any of the warning signals:
- Bone pain
- Frequent urination
- Burning or weak flow while urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Pain or blood when ejaculating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain or discomfort when sitting
Reducing the risk
Here are some things you can do to lower your risk of prostate cancer:
- Get screened for prostate cancer
- Talk with your doctor about options for risk reduction
- Eat a healthy diet – choose foods low in fat and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
Cancer screening refers to the process of detecting cancer before it creates symptoms or becomes incurable. Screenings should begin with a discussion of your family history, general health, and any potential problems, all of which should be shared with your doctor honestly so that they can make the best screening recommendations for you.
Routinely, prostate cancer screening begins at age 50, but depending upon a patient’s medical history, family history, or other risk factors, your doctor may recommend starting screening at an earlier age. Many times, a simple blood test, called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, can detect a marker for prostate cancer. Your doctor can interpret your PSA test results and make additional recommendations.
Over 98% of men with prostate cancer diagnosed early are treated successfully, and every diagnosis has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life. Cure rates after therapy are better when the disease is discovered early. There is no one solution – a therapy strategy that may be ideal for one patient may be completely ineffective for another. You and your doctor will decide on the best course of action for you. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and active surveillance are some of the common treatments.
Prostate cancer is common and treatable. Early detection and treatment can save you and your loved ones a lot of suffering and significantly impact your long-term health. Make your health a priority and see your family doctor as soon as possible if you suspect you have prostate cancer.
Want to talk to a Praava doctor about your risk for prostate cancer? Click here to book a consultation, either online or in clinic.