Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer found in men and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. However, prostate cancer can also be one of the most treatable forms of cancer.
The month of September is recognized as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. By understanding the symptoms of prostate cancer and knowing your family medical history, you can take a proactive approach to early detection of prostate cancer.
The first step to prevention is to understand the disease and the risks. Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland, which is the walnut-sized gland found below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer is often known to grow slowly; however, it can grow aggressively.
There are several known risks of prostate cancer. Firstly, prostate cancer is most commonly found in men aged 50 or older. As men age, the risk of developing prostate cancer becomes greater. The largest risk factor found in prostate cancer is family medical history. Men who have immediate family, such as a father or brother, who have had prostate cancer, are more than two times likely to develop prostate cancer. African American males are also twice more likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to Caucasians or Hispanics. Lastly, it has been suggested that men who are obese or smoke have a higher risk of prostate cancer.
The disease previously referred to as “The Silent Killer” often does not present any symptoms, which is why some men do not realize they have prostate cancer. Although this seems rather frightening for middle-aged and elderly males, routine doctor checkups can help alleviate these worries. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) screenings may be beneficial to you and is a topic you should discuss with your healthcare provider.
There are several known symptoms of prostate cancer, which include: decreased force or trouble when urinating, blood found in the semen, pain or discomfort in the pelvic region, erectile dysfunction and bone pain. If you should develop any of these symptoms, please consult with your physician.
Prostate cancer is not something to be treated lightly. On average, approximately one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. If you develop symptoms or have a high risk of developing prostate cancer, discuss your concerns with your physician. PSA blood tests may be conducted as a preliminary test to determine if something is wrong with your prostate or if you need further tests.
Being proactive is the key to prostate cancer. Be aware and contact your doctor if you have any concerns.
*The writer is Dr. Frederick Simpson, M.D. - Chief Medical Officer, Wilson Health